Argentina Star Sunday 26th February, 2017
• Mexico’s foreign minister warned the U.S. not to impose a unilateral tax on Mexican imports to pay for the border wall
• Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met top figures from Trump’s team this week
• A U.S. executive order on January 25 mandated the construction of a border wall
MEXICO CITY, Mexico - A day after U.S. President Donald Trump’s team met with top Mexican officials, Mexico has threatened to retaliate if the United States imposed a border tax.
On Friday, Trump vowed to start building the border wall “soon, way ahead of schedule.”
Hardening its opposition, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Mexico could respond to any tax the U.S. were to unilaterally impose on its imports to finance the wall with levies on select goods, aimed at U.S. regions most dependent on exports south of the border.
Speaking in a radio interview on Friday, Videgaray said, “Without a doubt, we have that possibility, and what we cannot do is remain with our arms crossed. The Mexican government would have to respond."
Last month, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a planned trip to meet Trump over the wall dispute.
In addition to the border wall dispute, Mexicans are further irked with Trump for pressuring U.S. firms not to invest in the country, in addition to the U.S. President’s insults to immigrants, and the repeated threat that he would make Mexico finance the border wall.
The ongoing tussle has led the peso currency to weaken on concerns that Trump’s policies and statements would impact Latin America's second best economy.
During their meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security John Kelly, Mexican officials voiced their anger against Trump's immigration and trade proposals.
An executive order was signed by Trump on January 25, that mandated the construction of a border wall.
The order requires government agencies to report the financial assistance they gave Mexico in the past five years - leading to speculation Trump wants to redirect the aid to pay for its construction.
Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said Mexico had no need for such financial aid from the U.S., indicating that the aim would not come close to paying for the estimated $21.6 billion cost of the wall.
On Friday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said it will accept proposals next month for the design of Trump's wall.