It appears that then-candidate Trump’s proposals, as implausible as they might have seemed at the time, were not just empty campaign talk.
After almost two weeks on the job, The Donald proved he means business and already found his first target: Mexico.
Four days after his inauguration, the president signed an executive order directing the construction of the border wall. That sole action sent the Mexican economy into Defcon 1: the Mexican currency started to fall and business leaders started to panic.
Weeks before, Trump warned U.S. companies that moving manufacturing jobs to the southern neighbor would carry repercussions. So, apparently, the trade war is on. On the other side of the ring, the Mexican government announced that it was beginning a 90-day consultation with the country’s Senate and private sector to prepare for the talks on renegotiating NAFTA with the U.S. and Canada.
But what would happen if trade between the US and Mexico halted?
1.- About 4.9 million Americans would be out of a job
According to a Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute report, this is a net figure that includes “jobs supported by the production of goods for export that would be lost if we stopped trading with Mexico, jobs that would return to the United States to produce goods we currently import and jobs currently supported by the income individuals and companies save by having access to lower cost imports.”
2.- The U.S. would deprive itself from access to a growing prime-age workforce
Mexico is the 10th most populated country in the world and Mexicans already have well-established cultural ties to America. According to Bloomberg’s Conor Sen: “When it comes to the U.S. workforce and when it comes to U.S. companies shifting jobs abroad, the future of the U.S. economy will likely be hecho en Mexico.”
3.- $267 billion dollars worth of exports to Mexico would be lost by the U.S. economy
The total trade between the two countries was estimated at $583 billion in 2015 by the office of the United States Representative. Mexico is the United States’ second export market after Canada. Since signing NAFTA, U.S. exports to Mexico have risen 468%.
4.- Consumer prices for Americans would surge (a lot)
The U.S. imports $316 billion in goods and services from Mexico each year, that number includes a lot of different agricultural products like fruit and vegetables. (Not to mention beer, clothes or automobile parts). Losing access to those goods would skyrocket prices for American consumers.
About the author: Mauricio Holguin is a Mexican journalism student currently at The Washington Center in D.C. He's been a staff writer for Shout! since January 2017.