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    Trump: Latest Mexico tariffs will bring jobs back to US, fight drug smuggling, remedy trade deficit

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Realtors Legislative Meeting and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, May 17, 2019.

    Olivier Douliery | Bloomberg | Getty Images

    President Donald Trump on Friday expanded the list of bilateral issues between the US and Mexico that he claimed would be remedied by the imposition of tariffs on all imports from Mexico, stretching his personal case for the tariffs beyond his administration's insistence that they are only intended to address the national emergency of undocumented asylum seekers crossing into the United States.

    In a series of tweets Friday morning, Trump wrote that if his proposed 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports were to go into effect on June 10, a policy unveiled less than a day ago, then not only would Mexico be forced to address the influx of migrants crossing its borders headed for the United States, but also that drug smuggling would decrease, that US manufacturers would return stateside, and that the US trade deficit with Mexico could be remedied.

    The tweets put the president squarely at odds with the message coming from both acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and senior trade adviser Peter Navarro, the two most visible White House aides defending Thursday's tariff announcement so far.

    A White House spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment from CNBC on the apparent disconnect between the president's messaging and that of his top aides.

    Appearing on CNBC Friday morning, Navarro pushed back on the notion that the tariffs were intended to bring more manufacturing jobs to the United States from Mexico, saying that the tariffs were "not at all" related to that goal.

    "This is strictly about national security and threats to our economy from illegal immigration from a criminal enterprise," Navarro said.

    Trump's tweet about the auto industry jobs was posted nearly simultaneously with Navarro's appearance on CNBC.

    Speaking on a conference call with reporters late Thursday, Mulvaney likewise insisted that the newly announced tariff threat was totally unrelated to ongoing negotiations between the US and Mexico over a revised North American trade treaty, known as USMCA, that still needs to be ratified by legislatures in Mexico and the United States.

    "These are not tariffs as part of a trade dispute," Mulvaney said on the call. "These are tariffs as part of an immigration problem. The USMCA is a trade matter and completely separate."

    Also unclear Friday was what, precisely, Mexico would need to do in order to satisfy Trump's demand that the longtime US ally do whatever it takes to see that the "illegal immigration problem is remedied."

    The abrupt tariff announcement and the potential impact tariffs could have on the prices US consumers pay for goods sent futures markets tumbling Thursday night, a slide that continued into Friday's trading day.

    The United States imported $346.5 billion of goods from Mexico in 2018, an increase of 10.3% over the year prior, according to the USTR. The 2018 total accounted for 13.6% of overall U.S. imports that year.

    CNBC's Joanna Tan contributed to this story.


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