Is the U.S. president using tariffs as a political weapon? | Inside Story

Is the U.S. president using tariffs as a political weapon? | Inside Story

Critics also have pointed out that tariffs are essentially an additional tax on American businesses and consumers, meaning prices will increase across the country for imports ranging from produce to cars and heavy machinery. "It has been this way for decades".

Administration officials made the rounds of Sunday television talk shows with a week to go before Trump's June 10 deadline to impose the 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods.

Trump's attacks on Mexico came a day after Mexican President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador suggested his country could clamp down on migration.

Trump's tariffs have set off alarm among members of both parties and business leaders, who fear it will damage prospects for a rewrite of the North American trade pact, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

"There is willingness on the part of USA government officials to establish dialogue and reach agreement and compromises", the Mexican leader said.

A Mexican delegation is traveling to Washington this week to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others, "to find a dialogue with a lot of diplomacy", Lopez Obrador wrote in a letter to President Trump on Thursday.

Trump says he will impose levies on Mexican goods if it doesn't stop undocumented people from entering the US.

Mexico's president said he thinks USA officials are prepared to negotiate on President Donald Trump's threat to use tariffs as a tool to fight illegal migration across the border.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called Trump's plan a "misuse of presidential tariff authority", while Sen.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is considering a legal challenge to the threatened new tariffs.

In contrast to previous spikes in arrivals, recent groups have included a large number of children, prompting USA officials to scramble to support families and children traveling without parents.

Those hopes were dashed Thursday, when Trump announced potential tariffs on Mexico, even as the Mexican legislature was preparing to soon consider the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Via a statement issued by the White House, Trump also said that if Mexico doesn't comply, tariffs would rise to 10% by July and eventually to 25% by October.

Trucks wait in a queue for border customs control to cross into the USA, at the Zaragoza-Ysleta border crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico June 1, 2019.

Several Republican lawmakers, who rarely challenge the president, said tariffs were the wrong tool to reign in illegal immigration.

He said the United States wants Mexico to intercept migrants on its southern border with Guatemala, taking action against what he described as cartel-owned bus lines moving them north, and coordinate with U.S. authorities on asylum. Other critics say the tariffs undercut negotiations that led to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade deal created to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

Asked what Mexico can do to avoid the tariff, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that a "very big first step" would be for Mexico to send home Central American migrants crossing through Mexico to get into the United States.

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