Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Backs Import Tax to Pay for Border Wall


President Trump in his office aboard Air Force One on Thursday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — The White House on Thursday endorsed a 20 percent tax on all imports to the United States, an idea congressional Republicans have proposed as part of a broader overhaul of corporate taxation. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters that revenue from the tax would cover the cost of a wall on the United States-Mexico border.
Some of those revenues, however, are likely to come from American pockets.
President Trump had previously criticized the proposal as too complicated.
The proposal, which Mr. Spicer said the president discussed privately with congressional Republicans before giving remarks at a party retreat here, would be a major new economic proposal that could have far-reaching implications for consumers, manufacturers and relations between the two governments.

Mr. Spicer said the 20 percent tax on annual Mexican imports would raise $10 billion a year and would easily pay for a border wall that is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $20 billion. The value of imported goods from Mexico in 2015 was $296 billion. Mr. Spicer said taxing imports is something that 160 other countries already do.

Mr. Trump would need new legislation to enact the proposal.

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