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Tariffs to have chilling effect on El Paso economy

As President Trump’s tariff threats continue to loom large over the borderland, a clearer idea is emerging of how such a policy could specifically impact the Borderland communities.

Since so many American companies have their products built in Mexico and then brought into the American across nearby ports of entry, the tariffs would hit those United States and also Mexican companies very hard.

Additionally, that might cause a trickle down effect to countless local employees.

According to Borderplex Alliance officials, the El Paso-Juarez-Dona Ana region is the 4th largest manufacturing region in North America and helps keep over 300,000 people employed.

Also, it is not just the Borderland as 6 of America’s top 10 trading ports with Mexico are in Texas.

Last year, the state took in over $107 billion in good from Mexico but those numbers could be dashed moving forward when the tariffs take effect.

“So we are hoping that the administration will reconsider its threats. It will lead to higher prices for consumers,” said Borderplex Alliance Chief Executive Officer Jon Barela. “Many jobs will be lost in our area and of course it will do very little if anything to solve the border and the migrant crisis that we now face.”

Now Trump’s plan calls for a 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, starting June 10, but if he doesn’t get his way, there’ll be incremental increases of 5% each month up to 25% if Mexico doesn’t do what he wants regarding the immigration situation.

That 5% would equate to a $5.7 billion hit to the entire Texas economy.

Texas lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have also voiced concerns over the threat.

“The borderplex region is the gateway of trade for the America’s and so much of that trade which is conducted between the United States and Mexico comes through our borderplex ports,” said Barela. “Up to 400,000 jobs according to one study will be lose if even a 5% tariff is enacted.”

Meanwhile, Mexican officials are in in Washington, D.C. to discuss the tariffs with the administration but it seems unlikely that a deal can be put in place before the June 10 deadline.

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