Trump slams Mexico, Democrats over spike in asylum seekers at border

Trump slams Mexico, Democrats over spike in asylum seekers at border

Trump said the tariffs would start at 5% and would gradually increase by five points at a time - up to 25% - "until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied".

The White House sees the deal, which was agreed to by the three nations' leaders in November, as the cornerstone of Trump's 2020 legislative agenda.

Trump also said he plans to increase the tariffs to 25 percent so long as he believes Mexico was not helping to solve immigration issues.

With every month that passes without action from Mexico, the tariff would jump in 5 percent increments until they hit 25 percent on October 1, according to a White House statement.

Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a business group representing US companies, said the move was a huge blow to the American economy and casts serious doubt on passage of the new trade deal.

The U.S. imports heavy equipment, like tractors, from Mexico. It also comes less than two weeks after Trump lifted import taxes on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminium, a move that seemed to clear an obstacle to passage of his North American trade deal.

Shares of General Motors, which imports more vehicles into the USA than any other United States automaker, tumbled more than 4% in premarket trading on Friday.

USA imports from Mexico totalled $346.5 billion in 2018, up 10.3 per cent from 2017 and range from avocados to auto parts.

Trump has routinely painted tariffs as a punishment for the countries that send goods to the U.S. However, many economists have pointed out that it's not exporting countries that pay tariffs. The group was the largest ever apprehended at the border and included 63 unaccompanied minors.

In a pointed letter released Thursday, López Obrador lashed out at Trump for what he described as the USA president's "turning the United States, overnight, from a country of brotherly love for immigrants from around the world, to a bolted space, where there's stigmatizing, mistreatment, abuse, persecution, and a denial of the right to justice to those who seek - with sacrifice and hard work - to live free from misery".

"We have to make a response because there can not continue to be hundreds of thousands of migrants passing through Mexico and arriving at the northern border", said Olga Sánchez Cordero, the interior minister, when a caravan began to form in March.

Mr Trump said in a statement: "For decades, the United States has suffered the severe and risky consequences of illegal immigration".

Trump wrote that Mexico has been passively allowing illegal immigrants through its borders, despite its "very strong immigration laws", and could easily stop the flow of illegal immigrants by returning them to their home countries.

The president said that if Mexico can alleviate the crisis at the Southern border, by dramatically reducing or eliminating the number of illegal aliens crossing, the United States may remove the tariffs.

The White House said Trump would be using the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement the tariff.

The tariff move came the same day that Trump presented notice to Congress to pass his renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has allowed tariff-free trade with Mexico and Canada since it came into effect in the 1990s.

"When trade negotiations and deals prove to be worthless because the US signature has been debased, then the only fair assumption is to brace for soured trade and investment prospects across the global economy, including in the U.S." he said, describing the mood in the markets.

Mexico has already raised tariffs on some United States products including apples, blueberries and pork in retaliation to the U.S. raising tariffs.

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