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Mexico warns US of retaliatory tariffs over Trump's border wall

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By Alasdair Sandford  with REUTERS
Mexico warns US of retaliatory tariffs over Trump's border wall

Mexico has threatened to retaliate following Donald Trump’s latest comments on his planned border wall: the US president vowed on Friday to start building it “soon, way ahead of schedule”.

After Trump addressed rapturous supporters at a conservative conference, Mexico’s foreign minister warned the US not to impose a unilateral tax on Mexican imports to pay for it.

“Naturally the Mexican government would need to respond. Our response would probably not be to put a general tax on all imports from the United States because that would harm the Mexican consumer, we would hurt the daily lives of Mexicans. We would do it selectively,” the Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said.

The foreign minister – who along with President Enrique Pena Nieto met top figures from Trump’s team this week – has reportedly floated the idea of imposing tariffs on imports from Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin if Mexico needs to retaliate – while insisting it prefers free trade.

The US president’s executive order to set the border wall project in motion also required government agencies to report aid given to Mexico, leading to speculation that Trump wants to redirect assistance to pay for construction of the barrier.