The United States will impose tariffs on all Mexican goods from next month, the Trump administration said late on Thursday, in an attempt to pressure its neighbour to halt an influx of migrants illegally crossing the border between the two countries.
President Donald Trump said in a statement that US customs officials will begin imposing duties of 5 per cent on Mexican imports from June 10. These tariffs will rise in stages to as much as 25 per cent by October 1, where they will stay permanently, if the Mexican government does not present a solution to what the Trump administration describes as an “extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States”.
“The United States of America has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico and entering our country illegally,” the White House statement read. “This sustained influx of illegal aliens has profound consequences on every aspect of our national life—overwhelming our schools, overcrowding our hospitals, draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime.”
The news prompted the Mexican peso to fall as much as 2.4 per cent versus the dollar, before paring losses to about 1.7 per cent. S&P 500 stock futures fell 0.9 per cent.
Mr Trump earlier this year declared a state of emergency over the migrant situation at the US-Mexico border, in a bid to bypass Congress and secure funds for a border wall between the two nations. Mr Trump has also previously threatened to close the land border, the world’s busiest, altogether.
Almost half a million migrants were apprehended crossing the border in 2018, a six-year high.