The Texas Association of Business and the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition condemn the coercive measures of raising tariffs on Mexico over ‘illegal immigrants.’

Immigration will not be resolved by tariffs; however, trade can be used to induce cooperative partnerships. Illegal immigration is an issue that impacts both Mexico and the United States and is therefore an issue we need to work on together, side by side. Any measure to move one of strongest trading partners toward that cooperation should be used as a ‘carrot’ not a ‘stick’ on Texas’ top trading partner.

Immigration and trade are entirely separate issues and need to be treated as such by our administration. The U.S. does not need to be distancing themselves from Mexico but, working with them in a united effort at the southern borders.

The economic consequences of Trump’s new plan could be swift and severe, especially in Texas. Companies that import products pay tariffs, so U.s. former would pay the import penalties and then likely pass at least some if not all of the costs along to consumers. Additionally, the administration’s movement to impose tariffs undermines the same administration’s efforts to get Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

As a country, we buy more from China, but we sell more to Mexico. Tariffs on Mexico are not a sustainable strategy. Mexico exported $346.5 billion in goods to the United States last year, from vehicles to fruits and vegetables. Many manufactured items also cross the border several times as they are being assembled at plants in both Mexico and the U.S. This essentially means U.S. companies could potentially pay tariffs multiple times for one product.

Mexico is a valued trading partner and a strategic one as well. We have been working with the White House to support the congressional ratification of USMCA, and this is a step backward in our effort to pass the very trade agreements that President Trump holds up as an example of what can be accomplished together in North America.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows trucks crossing the Laredo port of entry. Some $204 billion in Texas-Mexico trade passes through the Laredo port of entry. (Photo: Customs & Border Protection).