President Donald Trump defended his use of tariffs Friday in an early morning tweetstorm, suggesting once again that there was more to the deal he reached with Mexico in June than had already been announced.
“Biggest part of deal with Mexico has not yet been revealed!” the president wrote on Twitter, referring to a June agreement in which the North American neighbor said it would stem the flow of migrants across the southern border.
Trump has sought to emphasize that assertion since the New York Times reported last month that many aspects of the arrangement had been reached before the US threatened sweeping tariffs. But Mexican officials have denied that claim, according to the Associated Press.
Evidence of increased purchases of agricultural products of US agricultural products, another concession Trump said Mexico made, has remained elusive. The White House and the Mexican embassy in Washington did not respond to emails requesting comment.
He added that the US auto industry would benefit from higher duties on Mexico, dubiously asserting that it had stolen nearly a third of domestic business. According to the Center for Automotive Research, about 11% of vehicles sold in the US in 2017 were manufactured in Mexico.
“If the Tariffs went on at the higher level, they would all come back, and fast,” Trump continued. “But very happy with the deal I made … if Mexico produces (which I think they will).”
Also on Friday, Trump urged that his use of protectionism would ultimately help Americans.
“When you are the big ‘piggy bank’ that other countries have been ripping off for years (to a level that is not to be believed), Tariffs are a great negotiating tool, a great revenue producer and, most importantly, a powerful way to get … companies to come to the USA and to get companies that have left us for other lands to COME BACK HOME.”
Federal tariff revenue has risen sharply since Trump ignited disputes with major trading partners last year, but evidence suggests that those receipts come from American pocketbooks. Study after study has found that importers either have to absorb the tax or pass it onto companies and consumers.
Trump separately took aim at China, saying it unfairly weakened its currency.Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that the president has asked White House aides to look into how the US could take such action with the dollar.
“China is similar, except they devalue currency & subsidize companies to lessen effect of 25% Tariffs. So far, little effect to consumers,” he said. “Companies will relocate to U.S.”
The US and China restarted trade negotiations last week in an effort to defuse a dispute that has led to more than $350 billion worth of tariffs between the largest economies.