On a regular basis, the U.S. imports a wide variety of products from Mexico. These include automobile parts, computers and numerous types of fruits and vegetables. In a current opinion article on the Deseret News website, the site’s editorial board opines that imposing tariffs on Mexico is not a good idea, and that Congress should take away the power to do so from the president.
Supposedly, immigration and trade are unrelated issues. With the president threatening Mexico with trade tariffs, he is combining these two issues, which would not be good for the U.S. economy.
The Deseret News editorial board makes the point that the president can single-handedly choose to impose tariffs on Mexico only because Congress gave up that power, and gave it to the president. The gradual ceding of trade authority by Congress began in 1917, and by the 1930s, Congress had granted presidents the authority to make trade decisions.
U.S. presidents have declared national emergencies more than 50 times since 1977, in order to put trade restrictions into place. More than half of those trade restrictions are still in place.
By indicating that he may impose tariffs against Mexico because of immigration issues, the president may be jeopardizing the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, that replaces NAFTA.
Many businesses throughout North America would benefit from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and progress was being made on the process. For one of these countries to threaten another with tariffs after making progress on trade agreements, it sends a negative message to other countries.
Such actions would understandably make other countries wonder how the U.S. might use trade as a weapon in other situations.
In conclusion, the Deseret News board says that while decisive action is necessary when actual emergencies take place, the border security situation should not be connected to trade issues.