|June 5, 2019 -- U.S. President Donald Trump's new Mexico tariff plan would be a "very big detriment" to the economy of the U.S. border city of Laredo, Olivia Varela, president and CEO of the Laredo Economic Development Corporation, said Tuesday.
Sitting on the border between the United States and Mexico, Laredo's economy depends on vibrant trade through its port. "Laredo handles 98 percent of the trade with Mexico for the state of Texas, and 40 percent of all U.S.-Mexico trade is handled through the port of Laredo," Varela told Xinhua.
"With Mexico right now being the U.S. largest trading partner, any added tariffs that are not mutually agreed upon are not going to be well received. So we see this as potentially a very big detriment to our commerce and our relationship with Mexico," she said.
Varela believed Trump's plan to levy tariffs on all goods imported to the United States from Mexico would not be helpful to solving the immigration issue. Admitting there are big challenges on immigration in the country, Varela said the immigration issue should be treated separately from the trade issue.
"While we do have some very big challenges in immigration, we feel that should be a very separate issue from how we are dealing with our economic partners, not just in Mexico, but globally," she commented.
Calling for some cooler minds to prevail, Varela said trade tensions between the United States and China have already caused concerns among business people in the city and no one wants to see the situation to deteriorate with new trade disputes.
The trade war with China is a very unfortunate situation, Varela said. "We don't want to see the same thing happen in Laredo or anywhere along the U.S.- Mexico border." She added that the possible tariffs would cause some detrimental economic issues on both sides and for both countries.
Last week, Trump said he would impose a new 5-percent tariff on all imported Mexican goods beginning June 10 so as to pressure the country to halt undocumented migrants crossing the border.