Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico's economy minister, warned that forcing his nation to pay the United States in tariffs for the construction of a border wall could trigger a "global recession." Photo courtesy of Ildefonso Guajardo
MEXICO CITY, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Mexico's economy minister warned that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's threat of a massive border tariff to build a wall would trigger a "global recession."
Ildefonso Guajardo said on a news show on the Spanish-language Noticieros Televisa Mexican network on Friday that Trump's proposed 35 percent tariff would "be a problem for the entire world." A Trump tariff "will have a wave of impacts that can take us into a global recession," Guajardo said
During a news conference Wednesday in New York, Trump repeated his intentions.
"There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder," Trump said.
But Guajardo said his nation will retaliate if the Trump administration imposes the tariff.
"It's very clear that we have to be prepared to immediately be able to neutralize the impact of a measure of that nature," Guajardo said.
Trump is using the threat of tariffs for a better trade deal with Mexico, including renegotiating North American Free Trade Agreement, the free trade deal between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. In November, Guajardo said Mexico is willing to discuss but not renegotiate NAFTA.
Mexico is already suffering economically with the threats as the peso plunged after the election and remains near an all-time low. Mexico's central bank also lowered its economic forecast.
Trump has threatened U.S. companies that manufacture in Mexico and sell in the United States with the border tax. He has specifically called out automakers General Motors and Toyota, the latter of which is based in Japan.
"If I were Mr. Trump, I'd treat them with more respect," Guajardo said, referring to the Toyota incident.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates 6 million U.S. jobs are linked to trade with Mexico.
"We are the second-largest buyer of U.S. products," Guajardo said. "We are the biggest customers for pork, corn and fructose. All the states that voted for Trump would be the hardest hit if the agreement with Mexico is broken."
The U.S.-Mexican border is nearly 2,000 miles with a fence along a third of it. Guajardo's interview with Noticieros Televisa, in Spanish, is available to view online.