MEXICO CITY – Mexico won’t wait “with its arms folded” in the face of the 5 percent tariffs on its products announced on Thursday by US President Donald Trump as pressure to stop illegal migration, Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade said.
In remarks to journalists, the Deputy Foreign Minister for North America said that if the tariffs were imposed it would be “extremely serious.”
“The right thing would be to answer an eye for an eye,” he said but added that to do so would lead to “the jungle.”
Trump announced the move on social media on Thursday.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” the US president said on Twitter.
He added that “the tariff will gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”
Seade said that a measure of this scale was not foreseeable and that Mexico would have to talk with the United States.
Applying reciprocal tariffs would be “an intuitive reaction,” he said.
In that White House statement that followed the Tweet, Trump set a timetable for the gradual rise in taxes if the flow of illegal migrants from Mexico does not stop.
“If the crisis persists, however, the Tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 2019. Similarly, if Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019,” Trump said in the statement.
He added that “Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially strops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”
Trump said that if the illegal migration crisis is “alleviated” through effective measures by Mexico, tariffs will be eliminated.