Bluster or brilliance?

We are still trying to figure out if President Trump is crazy or crazy like a fox. What is the “end game” for Trump? Four more years or an early exit?

His latest policy initiative - to slap on an escalating tariff on Mexican products until Mexico helps stem the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S.  — is another unpredictable shock to the system. Most don’t see the wisdom behind it.

In a statement, the Produce Marketing Association said this about Trump’s proposal:

PMA maintains that trade is critical for the produce and floral industry and any threat to the flow of trade, including tariffs, will put our entire industry and consumers at a disadvantage. Consumers have become accustomed to year-round availability of fresh produce at an affordable price and imports from Mexico are a critical component of the solution for meeting year-round demand. In fact, according to USDA, Americans consume over $12 billion in Mexican fruits and vegetables every year. 

While there have recently been promising signs that both Mexico and the U.S  were moving forward with ratifying the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) through their respective legislative bodies we are concerned this new threat of tariffs by the Trump administration will bring uncertainty to the approval process and disrupt the integrated supply chain and investment between the two countries. 

We urge the U.S. Administration and the Mexican government to take immediate action to approve USMCA and remove all tariffs to preserve predictability and transparency in the marketplace.   

TK: Trump built much of his first presidential campaign maligning the lack of immigration controls and the deficiencies of trade deals. His talking points aren’t that different today.

There was— and still is — a populist appeal in that message of “Make America Great Again.”  But will new trade barriers really help U.S. growers?

On June 2, Trump (@realdonaldtrump) sent a flurry of tweets about his plan. 

@realdonaldtrump: The Democrats are doing nothing on the Border to address the Humanitarian and National Security Crisis! Could be fixed so easily if they would vote with Republicans to fix the loopholes.

@realdonaldtrump: People have been saying for years that we should talk to Mexico. The problem is that Mexico is an “abuser” of the United States, taking but never giving. It has been this way for decades. Either they stop the invasion of our Country by Drug Dealers, Cartels, Human Traffickers....

@realdonaldtrump:....Coyotes and Illegal Immigrants, which they can do very easily, or our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs). America has had enough

@realdonaldtrump: The Wall is under construction and moving along quickly, despite all of the Radical Liberal Democrat lawsuits. What are they thinking as our Country is invaded by so many people (illegals) and things (Drugs) that we do not want. Make America Great Again!

@realdonaldtrump: Mexico is sending a big delegation to talk about the Border. Problem is, they’ve been “talking” for 25 years. We want action, not talk. They could solve the Border Crisis in one day if they so desired. Otherwise, our companies and jobs are coming back to the USA!

TK: Beyond his high-stakes negotiations with China on trade issues, Trump’s latest threat of immigration-related tariffs on Mexico could be his biggest gamble. Trump’s political future may hinge on solving this self-created crisis before the threatened tariffs become a reality.