The immigration drama that the country is experiencing is getting a new storyline. This time it is economic, as President Donald Trump announced on that he would impose a 5 tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, that is, unless there is a slowdown to the flow of Central American immigrants crossing Mexico en route to the United States.
In reality, this brazen threat will bring serious economic repercussions for North Carolina.
The White House announced that it wants to begin imposing the tariffs on . It will raise them to 10 on if the inflow of immigrants has not stopped, and then an additional 5 on the first day of each month for the following three months.
Tariffs would remain at 25
until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory, the president said. This proposal does not follow a plan or strategy; it is a tantrum.
Multiple people have rejected this idea, from Democratic and Republican congress members, to representatives of corporations and production sectors. They have warned that in the end the price of tariffs will be passed on to American consumers.
If this plan goes forward, it would have a negative impact, especially on mass consumer goods, the automotive industry, and economies of states such as North Carolina.
International trade supports 1.18 million jobs in North Carolina, which represents almost one in five jobs in the state. Within this figure, trade with Canada and Mexico supports 376,400 jobs in North Carolina, according to a recent study.
The study, prepared by Trade Partnership Worldwide using the latest available employment data from , examined the net impacts of exports and imports of goods and services on U.S. jobs in all 50 states. The study found that trade-supported jobs in North Carolina increased by 137 from , when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented, to .
The study released on also revealed that North Carolina exported 12.3 billion in goods and services to Canada and Mexico in . Exports of goods and services represent 9.8 of the state’s total (GDP). North Carolina exported 2.1 billion in services and 10.2 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico in .
In terms of specific industries, 81 of North Carolina’s exports to the rest of the world were household items (accessories, furniture) and textiles with 43 million, about 60 of which were purchased by Mexico.
78 of North Carolina imports from Canada and Mexico were used as inputs by U.S. producers in .
The report points out that this trade has a positive net impact on both the services and the manufacturing sectors of the state. Why damage this commercial balance?
Trump is asking for 5.7 billion for the construction of a border wall. However, the best way to stop an immigration crisis is not with bricks or tantrums, but with development programs.
If part of that amount were used for business and agricultural development in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, perhaps fewer people would risk their lives to reach the United States.