Mexicans boycott U.S. products after Trump threatens import tax

As President Donald Trump pushes to begin construction on a border wall between the United States and Mexico, Mexican activists have reciprocated by launching a campaign of their own against American businesses. 

Videos and memes are being widely shared in Mexico calling for boycotts of U.S. products including those sold by Walmart, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. As Time notes, the hashtag #AdiosStarbucks—a reference to the Seattle-based coffee chain—has received significant participation over the past 24 hours.

Protests have also erupted outside the U.S. embassy in Mexico City with hundreds of demonstrators in attendance. CNN reported that during the international Women’s March on Saturday, a large crowd shut down the city’s central thoroughfare while chanting: “Love, not hate, makes America great.”

On Thursday, the White House floated the idea of a 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports as a means to reimburse the federal government for taxpayer funds allocated for the proposed wall, which some lawmakers estimate will cost between $12-$15 billion along the 2,000-mile border. Trump signed an executive order for the border wall on Wednesday.

Ironically, Mexican cement companies and construction workers are expected to receive the bulk of the money spent on the wall’s assembly, if indeed construction ever begins.

But by the afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was forced to walk back definitive remarks concerning the proposed tariff amid a flurry of public condemnation. Economists, who warn the plan would harm U.S. consumers, say one of the biggest impacts would be to automotive sales, with the cost of cars rising by as much as 10 percent.

Trump, during both his campaign and after the election, promised that Mexico would pay for the wall’s construction; however, a tariff on Mexican imports means that the American businesses would instead foot the bill, a cost that would be passed on to customers. It may also imperil as many as 6 million U.S. jobs that depend on trade with Mexico, CNN Money reports, citing figures provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called off a planned trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with Trump on Thursday after both leaders had publicly hinted that the bilateral meeting might be cancelled. The rescinded meeting, in addition to the Trump administration’s proposed tariff, have stoked fears of a trade war.

“I’ve said it many times before—Mexico will not pay for a wall.”

“I regret and reproach the decision of the United States to build a wall that for many years, far from uniting us, has divided us,” Peña Nieto said in a speech on Wednesday. “Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said it many times before—Mexico will not pay for a wall.”

In 2015, American exports bound for Mexico amounted to $267.2 billion, according to the office of the Trade Representative, while in the same year the U.S. imported roughly $316.4 billion worth of goods from Mexico, USA Today reports.

According to Pew Research, there are approximately 11.6 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, with as many as 52 percent coming from Mexico. Illegal entry into the U.S. from Mexico has steadily declined since 2007. 

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.