Last night, President Trump tweeted that he was threatening to impose tariffs on all goods sold from Mexico into the United States. He said unless Mexico does more to stop the flow of Central American migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, these tariffs could eventually reach 25%.
Mexico ranks high as one of the United States’ largest trade partner. But the announcement was shocking partly because of its timing: the Trump administration had already reached a trade deal with Mexico and Canada, but that deal’s ratification is pending. These new tariffs undermine its prospects. Furthermore, it had appeared that the U.S. was beginning to focus its trade agenda on China, having recently dropped the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada. Trump’s announcement is thus an unexpected volte face.
Soumaya Keynes, the U.S. economics editor for The Economist, helps explain five things to know about the surprising announcement.
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