By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
FRANKFORT, Ky. — In response to the ongoing debate on immigration and security at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump recently announced a 5% tariff on all goods coming from Mexico that is set to take effect next Monday. He plans to gradually ramp up the tariffs on Mexican goods to 25% by October of this year.
Trump says he is using the tariffs to pressure officials in the top trading partner of the United States to be more aggressive in stemming the flow of Central American migrants entering the U.S.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce reached out to Kentucky’s federal delegation on this issue, urging opposition to the president’s plan.
In a letter sent to Kentucky’s two senators and six congressmen, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson encouraged Congress to promote, not impede, international trade for companies in our state.
“In Kentucky, the total value of 2018 goods imported from Mexico equaled $.6,769,548,402. With just the 5% tariff, Kentucky would see a cost increase of $338,477,420. Should the tariff reach the 25% mark which the president has threatened, Kentucky would see a cost increase of $1,692,387,101,” Adkisson said in the correspondence.
A 5% tariff on imported goods from Mexico, which last year totaled $346.5 billion nationally, would result in a potential tax increase on businesses and consumers of $17 billion according to data on state imports from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“It is well established that trade works, and tariffs do not,” Adkisson said. “That is why, on behalf of the Kentucky business community, we ask that you oppose this plan that will certainly result in economic slowdown in Kentucky and across the nation.”
Officials from the U.S. and Mexico have been meeting this week in an attempt to avoid the sweeping tariff plan. It remains unclear if a deal will be reached before the 5% tariff is imposed.