By Michael D. Shear
PHILADELPHIA – President Donald Trump plans to make Mexico pay for his border wall by imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports into the United States from Mexico, raising billions of dollars that would cover the cost of the new barrier.
The proposal, which Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said the president discussed privately with congressional Republicans before giving remarks at a party retreat here, would be a major new economic proposal that could have far-reaching implications for consumers, manufacturers and relations between the two governments.
Spicer said the 20 percent tax on annual Mexican imports would raise $10 billion a year and would easily pay for a border wall that is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $20 billion. The value of imported goods from Mexico in 2015 was $296 billion. Spicer said taxing imports is something that 160 other countries already do.
The new tax would be imposed on Mexico as part of a tax overhaul that Trump intends to pursue with the Republican Congress. Spicer said the tax initially would apply only to Mexico, but that the president supports imposing a 20 percent tax on all imports.
Trump would need new legislation to enact such a comprehensive tax on Mexican imports.