Tech groups were lining up to take issue with the White House's threatened tariffs--up to 25%--on Mexican goods over border security issues.
Among those was the Consumer Technology Association, which suggested it was, in part, the product of a short fuse when a longer view was needed.
“This is a short-sighted, short-tempered reaction that doesn’t recognize a basic economic fact – tariffs are taxes," said CTA president Gary Shapiro, who pointed out that Mexico is the U.S.'s number one consumer tech export market to the tune of $41 billion in 2017.
"If Mexico reciprocates with tariffs of its own, our country’s employers and workers will end up paying twice over for the administration’s misguided trade policies," he said. "This administration must understand using tariffs to penalize other countries – whether that’s China as a negotiating tactic or our close ally Canada for allegedly being a ‘national security threat’ – means American families, workers and companies pay the price."
The White House signaled Thursday night that the border "crisis" required such potentially strong economic sanctions from the U.S., a tactic the President appears to favor. Trump is currently trying to use tariffs to try to get better terms from China on U.S. goods.
White House officials said on background that Mexico had to take action to secure their border, attack the criminal groups preying on migrants, and better deal with the asylum issue. They said the status quo is a crisis, is unacceptable, and if Mexico doesn't take some action by June 10--they are looking for progress as a baseline--the President will use his International Emergency Economic Powers Act to impose a 5% tariff on every single import from that country, ratcheting it up to 10% on July 1 if Mexico won't do what we say, then 15% on Aug. 1, 20% on Sept. 1 and 25% on Oct. 1.
The White House officials said the tariff threat does not affect or violate the USMCA, the multilateral (renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement) trade deal among the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association was no happier with the tariff threat.
“The Administration’s plan to impose tariffs on products from Mexico is counter-productive in light of the USMCA and recent steps taken by all parties to implement the updated agreement," said CCIA president Ed Black. "The blunt tool of tariffs will harm American consumers and industries, and risks the full realization of the benefits of a modern trade agreement that brings the North American market into the 21st century.”