GOP senators warn Trump’s Mexico tariffs could blow up trade deal

Republicans are warning President Donald Trump that he could sabotage his hopes of a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico if he follows through on plans to impose harsh new tariffs on the latter country.

“The [U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement] would provide much-needed certainty to our agriculture community, at a time when they need it,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said in a statement Friday. “If the president goes through with this, I’m afraid progress to get this trade agreement across the finish line will be stifled.”

She joined Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and numerous business groups who criticized Trump’s latest tariff move and warned it could imperil approval of the replacement for NAFTA, the president’s top legislative priority.

Trump said Thursday night that he planned to impose a 5 percent duty on all Mexican goods beginning June 10 to pressure Mexico to do more to stop illegal border crossings into the United States. That duty will increase to 10 percent on July 1 and rise by 5 percentage points each month until it reaches 25 percent on Oct. 1 if Mexico does not satisfy his demand.

Faced with widespread opposition to the move, Trump took to Twitter on Friday to defend his action.

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