Days after America’s new President Donald Trump signed an executive order and vowed to make Mexico pay for the wall along the 2000 mile border, Mexican Ambassador to India Melba Pria made it clear that Mexico would never pay for it and the only one who would end up funding Trump’s ‘bold’ campaign promise would be the US taxpayer. Speaking exclusively to CNN-News18, the Mexican envoy said, “I don’t know who pays for walls in the US but it’s certainly not going to be Mexico. Taxes pay for infrastructure in all our countries and it’s the public of the country which has to pay for it”.
When asked whether Trump’s order on the wall slated to cost a whopping 15 billion dollars would pass the congress’ scrutiny, Melba Pria said, “You will have to ask America. International economics is not a zero sum game. It has to be a win-win situation. I am sure the US public would need many more pieces of infrastructure which is more important than the wall. At the end of the day if they decide they want to spend their money like that it’s their right but it’s they who will have to pay for it”.
Melba Pria took great pains to explain how Trump’s tirade against Mexico for taking away jobs and manufacturing was so much at odds with statistics.
She repeatedly stressed that America wouldn’t become great again by just building a wall as the two economies were too closely interlinked. Pria said, “Mexican exports have forty percent American components but that forty percent is also creating jobs in the United States. The American association of car makers thinks that six million jobs US are linked to Mexico. So it is a complicated equation”. She explained how the auto industry was scared about Trump’s policies. “A car crosses the US Mexico border 8 times before it is finished. The Ford produced in Mexico costs 22000 dollars to the US consumer. If made in the US the cost goes up to 29000. The auto industry is worried that their cars would become at least 40 percent more expensive than Japanese cars and even American’s won’t buy the”.
KEY FACTS ON US MEXICO TRADE
Trade between US, Mexico and Canada which comprise the North American Free Trade Association grew from 290 billion in 1993 to 1.1 trillion in 2016
Between US and Mexico, trade grew 630% since 1994
US and Mexico trade at least 1 million per minute and 1.5 billion in a day
As per 2015 figures trade between US & Mexico was 483 billion. Larger than US trade with Japan, Germany and South Korea combined
US Chamber of Commerce suggests that 6 million US jobs depend on Mexico
The White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had recently suggested that one of the ways to fund the wall was to impose a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico.
Reacting to it the Mexican envoy said, “A piece of machinery such as a car makes 8 crossings, so are we going to tax it 8 times? Why mingle into speculation”. This suggestion from the white house had met with a lot of criticism as the burden of building the wall would fall on the US public, the very people who had voted Trump to power.
Pria also disagreed with Trump’s muslim ban which has been stayed by a US court. She said, “ I honestly don’t believe it is conducive to making the world safer but we have different views on this”.
In the end, Mexico’s senior diplomat urged America to remember that it is an economy that needs migrants and that one can’t always win. “We all want transactional deals. We all want something out of an agreement but it’s always better to have a win win deal rather than I win you lose deal. Such type of deals don’t exist anymore”, she said.