Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Note: In his Oval Office address tonight, Donald Trump again falsely claimed that somehow his revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA 2.0) will fund his border wall.
Donald Trump keeps repeating the ludicrous claim that somehow the revised NAFTA will fund his wall even though it remains unclear if the deal will be enacted and, if it is, the text does not include border wall funding directly nor would it generate new government revenue indirectly given that it cuts the very few remaining tariffs, not raises them.
A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals a new 20 percent tariff would have to be imposed on all imports from Mexico to put the money to construct the wall into the U.S. Treasury and that money would come from importers, not the Mexican government. All imports into the United States from Mexico have been duty free for more than a decade, meaning that NAFTA trade does not generate money from Mexican importers for U.S. government coffers and nothing in the NAFTA 2.0 changes that.
So much for Trump’s great negotiating skills, given its obvious that trying to connect NAFTA to funding for his wall decreases the likelihood Congress passes the revised NAFTA, even if Trump’s NAFTA-wall-funding claims are entirely without merit.
Perhaps the strongest evidence that nothing in NAFTA 2.0 forces Mexico to pay for Trump’s border wall is that Mexico, which has made clear it will not pay, signed the deal.