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The U.S.—Mexico Tariff Deal
Jun 12, 2019 at 02:04 PM
Photo by Pixabay.com

The Quick Facts

  • Last week, President Trump threatened to begin imposing tariffs on Mexico as an effort to pressure the country into more action concerning immigration.
  • In response, Mexico sent a delegation to Washington to begin negotiations. By the end of the week, the administration confirmed that a deal had been reached and Trump had agreed to suspend plans to impose tariffs.
  • The State Department released a statement about the deal, which said that the U.S. will be expanding a program that returns asylum-seekers who cross the border back to Mexico while the claims are processed. According to the agreement, “Mexico will offer jobs, healthcare and education to those people.”
  • The agreement also stated that Mexico had agreed to “take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” including the deployment of its new National Guard.

Food For Thought

Was the deal struck with Mexico to avoid tariffs a good one? Did the week mark a victory for Trump or not?

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NBC News

Trump's Mexico tariff deal is fake news. Mexico has been enforcing U.S. immigration policy for years

Julio Ricardo Varela
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Our Commentary

In this commentary from NBC News, Julio Ricardo Varela offers these sorts of perspectives:

  • Trump’s Mexico deal is nothing more than a smokescreen. After unleashing an “anti-Mexican tirade,” all Trump got was the appearance of concessions, meant to placate the president into calling off his tariffs.
  • Mexico agreed to things it has already been doing, because the truth is “Mexico has actually been placating the U.S. appetite for immigration enforcement for years now.”
  • What Mexico should do (and might do) in response to Trump’s bullying is strike back, even organizing an economic boycott of the U.S. Instead of arresting immigration activists and acquiescing to tariff threats, “López Obrador should become the face of real migration rights”— if Mexico starts to play hardball, Trump’s tactics will fall apart.

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The New York Times

Donald and the Delusion Discount

Paul Krugman
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Our Commentary

This opinion piece by Paul Krugman from The New York Times expresses these types of views:

  • Trump’s tactics with Mexico have “destroyed whatever credibility he may still have had on economic policy.” After blowing up his position on the new NAFTA by threatening tariffs, the president then “called the whole thing off in return for a statement by Mexico that it would do … things it had already agreed to months earlier.”
  • What most likely happened is that Trump backed down once he recognized how devastating those tariffs would be to the American economy. “Now, not having a destructive trade war is a good thing. But what the world learned from this climbdown is that Trump’s threats are as empty as his promises.”
  • The only good thing about this whole situation is that financial markets have stayed relatively strong, and that is because investors have figured out that Trump “tweets loudly but carries a small stick.” Markets have stopped placing credibility in Trump’s tactics and rants, and “they’ve stopped treating evidence of his unfitness for office as news.”

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New York Post

Trump’s big win on Mexico and immigration

Editorial Board
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Our Commentary

This editorial from the New York Post includes these types of opinions:

  • It turned out all the hysteria over President Trump’s tariff threat to Mexico was overblown. The strategy worked: Trump got a deal that gave him exactly what he wanted: “much more vigorous cooperation in stopping illegal Central American migrants from travelling 1,200-plus miles across Mexico to sneak into the United States.”
  • Congress has been stalling when it comes to allowing emergency funds to deal with the crisis at the border, so Trump was right to “take a brilliant step outside the box” by upping the pressure on Lopez Obrador to do his part. It may be the case that “Mexican officials had tentatively signed off on much of the new plan,” but that hardly matters: “apparent concessions just don’t mean much until you reach a complete agreement.”
  • This is the kind of agreement that is sorely needed: the shortage of funds at the border is “forcing major cuts in services, canceling recreation and education programs for unaccompanied minor children being detained.” This has amounted to a true crisis at the border, and “good for President Trump for opting for threats instead of bribery” to address it.

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USA Today

President Trump's Mexico tariff strategy produces a game-changing win

Brandon Judd
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Our Commentary

In this opinion article from USA Today, Brandon Judd makes these kinds of points:

  • President Trump’s use of tariffs to force Mexico to take more responsibility on the border is “a game-changer that will provide benefits to the American people no matter what happens.” If Mexico does not hold up its end by taking “swift and decisive action to stem the flow of illegal immigrants to our southern border,” the economic benefits of the tariffs “will at least allow us to recoup some of those losses.”
  • Even if the tariffs go into effect, “Americans have nothing to fear from the imposition of tariffs, even if they eventually reach the 25% cap the president has set on their gradual escalation.” This is because “Mexico’s economy depends far more on access to America’s market than our economy depends on imports of cheap Mexican goods.”
  • Therefore, America benefits either way from President Trump’s bold and wise action. Hopefully, Lopez Obrador fulfills the terms of the deal and Mexico will do its part to help with the border crisis, but no matter what, “Trump’s strategy ensures that America will emerge stronger.”

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