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Schweikert: Tariffs on Mexico are ‘unfair double whammy’ on Arizonans

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — One Arizona lawmaker says he understands the thinking behind President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to place a 5% tariff on Mexican imports, but he sees it as harmful to the state.

“In many ways, this was a powerful message saying that you have this border in southern Mexico with Guatemala — please find a way to lock it down,” U.S. Rep. David Schweikert told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.

However, Schweikert said he doesn’t think tariffs are the way to do it.

“I don’t think the tariff mechanism actually works here, just because, how long would it take to build a new supply chain for all the fruits and vegetables we get in the United States in the winter?”

“With Mexico being Arizona’s No. 1 trading partner by far, it sort of becomes an unfair double whammy on the people of Arizona. We suffer a lot of the cost.”

In 2017, Arizona exported about $7.6 million of goods to Mexico, the third-highest state in the country, according to census data.

Arizona imported about $7.9 million of goods that year, the sixth-highest in the nation.

Trump said the tariffs, effective June 10, will gradually increase up to 25% until illegal immigration is “remedied.”

But Schweikert isn’t totally sold on the idea that the tariffs are harmful, especially due to reports that Mexican authorities were traveling to the U.S. to discuss immigration shortly after Trump’s announcement.

“This may be another one of those occasions where all of us jump up and down and say, ‘Hey, this is going to hurt the economy and the people in our state,’ and it turns out, it actually got some movement from a trading partner,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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