President Donald Trump vowed to impose a 5% tariff on Mexican goods until that country stops immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally, brandishing a weapon used against a widening group of countries and jeopardizing a new North American trade agreement.
The tariff would take effect on June 10, “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our country, STOP,” Trump said in a Twitter post on Thursday night.
He warned that the levy “would gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied at which time the tariff will be removed.” The tariffs could rise as high as 25% on Oct. 1, Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
The move, which has major implications for American automakers and other companies with production south of the border and the U.S. economy as a whole, represents Trump’s latest expansion of his trade wars. It comes just days after he removed steel tariffs on Mexico that had caused retaliation against U.S. farm products.
Among the most affected sectors by the move to impose tariffs on Mexico is energy. The US regularly imports more than 700,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Mexico, making it the third-largest supplier after Canada and Saudi Arabia in 2018.
It also marries two of his signature issues — trade and immigration — as he ramps up his campaign for re-election in 2020.