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The tariff is set to begin on June 10, unless Mexico somehow solves what Trump has called an emergency at the border.
President Donald Trump, in yet another example of foreign policy by tweet, said Thursday the United States will impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods coming from Mexico starting on June 10 until illegal immigration across the southern border is stopped.
"The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed," Trump said on Twitter.
In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said the tariff would increase to 10% on July 1, 15% on Aug. 1, 20% on Sept. 1 and to 25% on Oct. 1.
"Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States," Trump said in the statement.
"Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries," he said.
This declaration comes as a surprise as the United States, Mexico, and Canada are currently in the midst of ratifying a new NAFTA deal that would update trade rules among the three countries. Dubbed the USMCA deal, to update the 25-year-old NAFTA, it had just been sent to the Mexican Senate where it was expected to be ratified easily.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he foresees no difficulties in getting it passed.
Mexico is one of the largest trading partners for the U.S. and according to the Office of the United State Trade Representative, trade between the two countries was estimated at US$671 billion dollars.