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What Experts Are Saying About Trade, Tariffs And Texas

Veronica G. Cardenas for Texas Public Radio

A former U.S. ambassador to Mexico warned that the recent drama over tariffs on Mexican products may not be over. He's worried it may resume in three months.

President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexico was designed to pressure America’s top trading partner into taking action to prevent Central American immigrants from reaching the southern U.S. border.

The tariffs were scheduled to take effect on Monday, June 10. But on the previous Friday, Trump tweeted that Mexican officials “agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration.”

Sighs of relief throughout North America greeted the news.

But Antonio Garza, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico under President George W. Bush and a former Texas secretary of state, pointed out that the deal may not be permanent.

During a special statewide broadcast of "The Source" on Monday, Garza highlighted two aspects of the deal: Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S. must remain in Mexico, and Mexico must send 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border to stem the flow of migrants from Central America.

"And then in 90 days, we'd be back to review the status of the implementation," he explained. "So the uncertainty may be gone for now but in 90 days it's quite possible that we'll be right back where we were just a few days ago."

Garza hoped the U.S. won't simply wait for three months and then evaluate Mexico's efforts to stop the flow of migrants. He wanted Congress to make constructive use of that time.

"[W]e ought not just to sit here for 90 days and then turn the microscope on Mexico and say, 'what have you done?' but use these 90 days smartly."

First, Garza hoped Congress will review a president's authority to manipulate tariff policy, "and I think that that should be reined in," he explained. Garza also wanted Congress to evaluate current U.S. asylum policies. Finally, he wanted the U.S. government to consider how the U.S. can work with Central American governments to address the problems that inspire people to flee their homes in the first place.

The Trump administration's use of tariff policy doesn't end with Mexico.

Trade tensions continue to increase with China. The U.S. recently threatened a 25% tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports that have yet to be subjected.

The administration also made tariff threats against other countries, including India and Australia.


  • The Honorable Antonio Garza, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2002-2009)
  • Gerry Schwebel, executive vice president at the International Bank of Commerce in Laredo andmember of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue and the U.S.-Mexico Economic Council
  • Mary Beth Sheridan, correspondent covering Mexico and Central America for The Washington Post
  • Matthew Rooney, director of the Economic Growth Program at the George W. Bush Institute 

"The Source" is a live call-in program on Texas Public Radio.  This show was recorded on Monday, June 10.

Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and received a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
David Martin Davies is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering Texas, the border and Mexico.