Trump's Mexico tariffs would 'tank the American economy,' GOP senator says

  • President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican imports.
  • Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said on Sunday that the proposed tariffs would “tank the American economy.”
  • He added that he believes the president recognises these risks and is unlikely to follow through with the threats.

As President Donald Trump threatens to impose sweeping duties on imports from Mexico, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are warning of widespread consequences for the US economy.

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS that Trump recognised concerns about proposed tariffs on Mexican imports, adding that he didn’t think they would ultimately be levied.

“He’s been known to play with fire but not live hand grenades,” Kennedy said of Trump. “And if he slaps a 25% tariff on Mexico it’s going to tank the American economy. And I think the president knows that and I don’t think he’ll do it.”

Trump last week said he would impose tariffs on all imports from Mexico on June 10 if the US ally didn’t stem the flow of migrants across the southern border, shifting the focus to immigration ahead of the 2020 elections.

The White House said the tariff rate would start at 5% and increase by five percentage points each month through October, when it would top out at 25%. That would not only increase prices for American businesses and consumers, but could also put broader trade relationships at risk.

The Trump administration has been pushing to replace NAFTA, which has been a signature campaign promise for the president. But lawmakers have raised concerns that using blanket tariffs as leverage could complicate the future of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which still needs to be ratified.

“We hope that the President will join us in bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform, be strategic about our trade relationships and recognise the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Friday. “Yet again, the President is sowing chaos over the border instead of delivering solutions for American workers and for American consumers.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.