In an early-morning tweet, Trump declared that the benefits accruing from the recently signed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal would meet the cost of the wall:
I often said during rallies, with little variation, that “Mexico will pay for the Wall.” We have just signed a great new Trade Deal with Mexico. It is Billions of Dollars a year better than the very bad NAFTA deal which it replaces. The difference pays for Wall many times over!
The USMCA was signed by the leaders of the three countries last year on November. However, none of the governments of the three countries have ratified the deal.
Trump’s claim that the USMCA deal will see Mexico ‘pay for the wall’ indirectly has previously been rubbished by experts. The experts argue that, after ratification, the deal will not translate into federal revenues that would be enough to pay for the wall.
Responding to a query by fact-checking website, FactCheck, a University of Pennsylvania professor, Kent Smetters, stated that the accruing benefits from the new trade deal would not be enough to cover the maintenance costs of the wall:
Relative to NAFTA, the Mexican government would not nearly lose enough tariff revenue that could be constituted as paying for the wall, at least the wall as previously envisioned by the Administration; nor would the U.S. government revenue increase enough based on a dynamic score. In fact, the additional revenue to U.S. relative to NAFTA would, optimistically, not cover annual maintenance and improvements of the wall much less the original build.
Other experts also concurred with Smetters leading FactCheck to conclude that Trump’s claim was false.
Prior to being elected Trump severally stated that Mexico would pay for the wall directly.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5- 10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” reads a part of a Trump campaign document titled “Pay for the Wall” released in 2015.
Then, Trump indicated in a campaign position paper that there were a variety of ways that the United States could use to compel its neighbor to the south to pay for the wall:
Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore.
Trump’s tweet comes at a time when the shutdown occasioned by a failure by the U.S. Congress to allocate money for building the wall is entering its 21st day.
Featured image from Shutterstock.