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Tariffs on Mexico are the Wrong Approach

| Manufacturing

As you may have seen, the White House recently announced that it would implement tariffs on all Mexican imports unless the country took steps to address the immigration crisis, beginning this Monday. There’s no doubt that we need to fix our immigration system, but these tariffs are the wrong approach. Too many NC jobs rely on a strong trade relationship with Mexico – our state’s employers, manufacturers and consumers can’t afford the devastating impact of this policy.

One in every five North Carolina manufacturers exports goods to Canada and Mexico. Last year, North Carolina exported $31 billion in goods globally, $10 billion of which went to Canada and Mexico. In addition, nearly 32,000 of the state’s 473,000 manufacturing jobs depend on trade with both countries. North Carolina was also eighth in the nation for total imports from Mexico in 2018, equating to approximately $7.7 billion in goods.

That’s why the NC Chamber has long called for a strengthened and modernized version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and why we were pleased to support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We’ve called on Congress to pass that free trade agreement as quickly as possible, but these tariffs could jeopardize that entire process.

The administration’s proposal starts this Monday with a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports. The U.S. Chamber analyzed the state-by-state impact of these tariffs, and the numbers for North Carolina are striking. The 5% tariff alone would impact $384 million of North Carolina’s total imports. Those costs would be passed along to businesses and consumers, threatening North Carolina’s economic competitiveness.

Today, the NC Chamber joined with the U.S. Chamber and 140 other business and agriculture associations in opposing these tariffs—read more here.

We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you apprised of any developments.


Gary J. Salamido

Chief Operating Officer and Acting President, NC Chamber