The U.S. Chamber of Commerce appears to be out of step with the Trump administration regarding the recent agreement with Mexico. Comments from Executive Vice President Neil Bradley on Friday, June 14, seem to imply that tariffs were avoided because the Chamber made a compelling case against tariffs saying they would be a tax on America, damage the economy, and not secure the border.
Bradley said, “Well, we’re very pleased with the result, that is no tariffs. That’s exactly what we were asking for. Many of us think that we made a compelling case that the tariffs would, one be a tax on American consumers and businesses, two would significantly damage the economy, and three really wouldn’t achieve the objective of securing the border. Those facts aren’t going to change in the future and therefore we’re kind of optimistic that those facts, combined with the steps that Mexico is taking and that the United States is taking, with respect to the southern border, will hopefully remove the threat of any further tariffs.”
However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared the diplomatic achievement of the Trump administration last week and clearly indicated significant progress in securing the border and the importance of tariffs.
Pompeo said, “I thought too I’d spend just a minute here talking about the agreement that was reached with United States and Mexico on Friday of last week. Frankly, it reflects diplomacy at its finest. It shows the enduring strength too of the relationship between our two countries and it’s a significant win for the American people. The deal continues the Trump administration’s commitment, the strongest by any administration in history to confront the tide of illegal immigration and many other problems along our southern border, including the drug trafficking issues that transit there. The president’s doing precisely what he said he would do. “
Responding to a reporter asking the question, “Can you explain what in this agreement was different than what was discussed between Secretary Nielsen and the Mexican governments in December, the agreement that people have been talking about?”
The secretary said, “The scale, the effort, the commitment here is very different from what we were able to achieve back in December. And frankly, it wouldn’t have happened. The entire team from the Mexico government that came up, that came up because the president had raised the specter of 5 percent tariffs on their products. It’s what prompted this series of conversations that took on a level of seriousness and a timed commitment that we were committed to getting done before the weekend. So it’s a fundamentally different commitment about doing this across the entire border at scale. You see the numbers in the several thousand per day. Those are the folks that will now be subject to the migrant protocols and will be, when appropriately adjudicated, returned to Mexico to await their asylum hearing hearings inside of Mexico.”
Furthermore, even though it was an effective tool for President Trump in the agreement with Mexico, the Chamber appears to be in favor of limiting presidential tariff authority.
Bradley said, “Well, you know there was a lot of folks on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats, who were talking about reclaiming their authority overall but also with respect to tariffs. We’ll have to see how those progress. But, I think if nothing else it started a conversation that’s probably decades overdue. With respect to how we impose tariffs what the process is and the involvement of our elected officials.”
Includes reporting for the Associated Press