Tariffs on Mexico would hit Illinois hard, equal to $190B a year in new taxes for American consumers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois consumers were poised to take a big hit if Donald Trump and Mexico don't reach a deal on new tariffs.

Economists said the plan to impose new tariffs on our southern neighbor could lead to job losses and increased prices on many everyday items.

Trump suspended plans to impose the tariffs, tweeting that Mexico "has agreed to take strong measures" to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States Friday evening.

Experts estimated the tariffs, combined with those already instituted on Chinese goods, would have been the equivalent of $190 billion a year in new taxes for American consumers.

Illinois is the fourth-largest destination for Mexican goods. Much of the products come here by truck, and employees at Chicago-based BlueGrace Logistics worked hard Friday, trying to arrange as many products as possible to get from Mexico into the U.S. before Trump's Monday deadline.

"In 2018, roughly $125 billion worth of good shipped across the border, 70 percent on truckload," said Alisha Greenwald, BlueGrace Logistics.

BlueGrace works with shippers and suppliers importing produce, auto parts and raw materials from Mexico. Illinois imports close to $13 billion worth of goods from Mexico.
"The greater shipping community is very concerned about what is going to happen in the coming days and coming months," Greenwald said.

If Trump follows through on his tariff threat, the increase in cost will likely be passed on to consumers. The president's plan is to force Mexico to take a tougher stance on the flow of migrants coming across the border. While negotiations continue, lawmakers in the president's own party are urging him to reconsider, saying tariffs would be devastating to the American economy.

"They should be saying, we are with the president. We'll do whatever he wants to do and Mexico will fold like an umbrella," Trump countered.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.