Free traders no more? GOP warms up to Trump’s use of tariffs

AP NEWS | 6/7/2019 | Staff
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with President Donald Trump backing off his threat to slap tariffs on goods from Mexico, his transformation of Republican Party trade policy is nearly complete.

Republican lawmakers usually don’t like tariffs. They’re viewed as a tax on consumers and unwanted government intervention in free trade. But many Republicans, unwilling to buck Trump, were prepared to follow the president’s lead and support 5% tariffs on Mexico in his dispute over illegal immigration .

Trump - Friday - Europe - United - States

But after Trump returned Friday from Europe, he tweeted: “I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.”

He said that Mexico has agreed to work to “stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border” and that those steps would “greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.”

Tariff - Threat - Border - Crisis - Trump

The tariff threat may or may not have solved the border crisis. But as with Trump’s tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and goods from China, the threat alone sent ripple effects into a jittery economy.

“I’m a free trader, but I want equal access,” said Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue, a former Fortune 500 business executive and close ally of Trump.

Behavior - Government - Avalanche - People

“What we’re talking about here is trying to change behavior,” he said. “Here, we need the Mexican government to help us with this avalanche of people that’s coming.”

Said Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott: “I don’t like it, but I’m going to support the president. ... I want border security.”

Negotiations - Week - Washington - Mexican - Officials

During negotiations this week in Washington, Mexican officials agreed to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border with Guatemala to help control the flow of migrants. However, one of the main U.S....
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