There is a sheer nastiness to Trump’s Mexico tariffs

The timing of Trump’s policy is especially offensive. Earlier, Mexico, Canada and the United States had negotiated a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); the new arrangement is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Mexico and Canada were preparing to ratify their agreements; the Trump administration was trying to assemble the necessary support.

The betrayal resembles a marriage in which one of the betrothed doesn’t show up for the wedding. “Unless the Congress intervenes or Trump changes his mind, the new USMCA is dead,” wrote Edward Alden, a trade expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, in a blog post…

There is a sheer nastiness to Trump’s proposal that seems to ignore the fact that, counting services (tourism, transportation) and trade with Canada, the U.S. trade deficit with the NAFTA countries was only about 5 percent ($66 billion) on total trade of $1.385 trillion in 2018, according to government figures from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

If Trump’s tariffs do go into effect, the impact on Mexico’s economy could be devastating, according to Shannon K. O’Neil, also of the Council on Foreign Relations. The economy has already slowed, she said, and is highly dependent on trade, which equals 38 percent of the economy.

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