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Trump wants to fund Mexico border wall with 20 pc import tax

The new White House press secretary did not give further details about how the proposed tax would be implemented

Published: Updated:

US President Donald Trump plans to fund his construction of a wall on the Mexican border by imposing a 20 percent import tax on goods from Washington’s southern neighbor, his spokesman said Thursday.

The financing of the project, which is aimed at clamping down on illegal immigration, has sparked tensions between the two countries: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday called off a visit to Washington set for next week.

“By doing that, we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone,” Sean Spicer told reporters traveling with Trump aboard Air Force One, as they flew from Philadelphia back to Washington.

The new White House press secretary did not give further details about how the proposed tax would be implemented, or when it would be put in place. But he said it could be part of an overall tax reform package.

“It clearly provides the funding and does so in a way that the American taxpayer is wholly respected,” Spicer said, adding that lawmakers had been made aware of the proposal.

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order telling officials to begin to “plan, design and construct a physical wall” along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) US-Mexico border, making good on a campaign pledge.

Minister: Paying for wall ‘not negotiable’

Mexico is willing to talk with the United States in order to maintain good relations, but paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall “is not negotiable,” Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Thursday.

“There are things that are not negotiable, things that cannot and will not be negotiated. The fact that it is being said that Mexico should pay for the wall is something that is simply not negotiable,” Videgaray said during a press conference at the Mexican embassy in Washington.

Holding true to his campaign promise, Trump on Wednesday ordered US officials to begin to design and construct a wall along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) US-Mexico border.