On May 30, 2019, President Donald Trump issued a Statement Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis in which he announced that his administration would be imposing a 5 percent tariff on all goods entering the United States from Mexico beginning on June 10, 2019. Stating that “the United States has suffered the severe and dangerous consequences of illegal immigration” for decades while “Mexico has allowed [illegal immigration] to go on for many years, growing only worse with the passage of time,” the president determined that from “a safety, national security, military, economic, and humanitarian standpoint, we cannot allow this grave disaster to continue.”

Claiming authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Trump will place a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico beginning on June 10, 2019. Furthermore, the tariff will increase to 10 percent on July 1, 2019, if the problem persists. Then, according to the statement, “if Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States,” the tariff will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019. The tariffs “will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”

When asked on June 2, 2019, what Mexico will have to do to have the tariffs removed, Trump replied, “They have to stop the illegal flow — the flow of drugs; of immigrants, illegal immigrants — people that have not gone through the process. We have people — we want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.” On Monday, June 3, 2019, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross met with Mexican Secretary of Economy Graciela Márquez Colín to discuss various matters and indicated that they discussed the pending tariff and reiterated “the President’s message that Mexico needs to do more to help the U.S. address immigration across our shared border.”

To date, no details have been released regarding the tariffs, the process for implementing them, or any potential exclusions. Additional meetings are scheduled for the week of June 3 and Trump and Trade will be monitoring this matter closely.