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Mexico has warned the United States against imposing a unilateral tax on Mexican imports to finance the border wall, saying it could respond in kind.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said the government could place tariffs on selected goods from United States reliant on exports to Mexico.

Earlier, President Donald Trump vowed to start building the wall “soon, way ahead of schedule”.

The US government says it will start accepting design proposals next month.

The US Customs and Border Protection Agency has informed that it will ask companies to submit proposals “for the design and build of several prototype wall structures” on or around March 6.

A shortlist of the best designs will be drawn up by March 20, after which bidders will be asked to cost their ideas.

Contracts are expected to be awarded by mid-April.

Addressing the CPAC in Maryland on February 24, President Donald Trump vowed to always put American citizens first and build a “great, great border wall”.

Donald Trump has pledged that Mexico will pay for the wall, which could cost up to $21.5 billion, according to Reuters, which cited a Department of Homeland Security internal report.

The figure is much higher than Donald Trump’s estimated price tag of $12 billion.

President Trump has proposed to levy a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for a border wall.

In a radio interview on February 24, Luis Videgeray said that “Mexico believes in free trade”, but “would have to respond” if the US tried to fund a border wall by imposing a tax on Mexican imports.

“What we cannot do is remain with our arms crossed,” he said.

“Mexico will face this as a reality and not just as a rhetorical threat because we have realized that rhetorical threats come and go.”

According to reports, Luis Videgeray has previously identified states including Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin as possible targets for retaliatory tariffs.

Mexico is by far the top destination for Texan exports, with goods worth $92.4 billion exported there in 2015, according to the US Department of Commerce.

The wall is a sensitive political subject in Mexico. President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a trip to meet President Trump last month over the dispute and has said Mexico will not fund the wall.

On February 23, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly met their Mexican counterparts in Mexico City.

Neither side made any mention of the wall in the news conference after their closed-door meetings.

President Donald Trump needs Congressional approval for funding before moving forward with construction of the wall.



Former Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, who organized Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico, has been named as President Enrique Pena Nieto’s new foreign minister.

Luis Videgaray was sacked as finance minister in 2016 over the role he played in organizing the visit of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Donald Trump had angered Mexicans, calling Mexican immigrants to the US “rapists”.

Luis Videgaray will now lead talks with the Trump administration, including on the wall the president-elect has promised to build between the US and Mexico.

Announcing the appointment, President Enrique Pena Nieto said that “the instruction to minister Videgaray is to accelerate the dialogue and contacts so that, from the first day of the new [US] administration, we can establish the basis of a constructive working relationship”.

Image source Wikipedia

Luis Videgaray was seen as the main organizer of the meeting between Donald Trump and President Enrique Pena Nieto in August, which was criticized by Mexicans both in the national press and on social media.

Many Mexicans saw the invitation by Enrique Pena Nieto as a sign that the Mexican president was bowing to Donald Trump even though the latter had said during his campaign that he wanted to build a border wall between the US and Mexico which he insisted Mexico would pay for.

Enrique Pena Nieto said the meeting was to convey Mexico’s interests to Donald Trump.

When Donald Trump appeared at a campaign rally in the US just hours later again promising that Mexico would pay for his planned wall “100%”, President Pena Nieto said that “we could have done things in a better way”.

Luis Videgaray stepped down from his post as finance minister just days after the visit and a spokesperson for the ministry said at the time that Videgaray would not take on another public office.

However, on January 4, President Enrique Pena Nieto named him as his new foreign minister, saying that Luis Videgaray would “promote Mexico’s interests without diminishing our sovereignty and the dignity of Mexicans”.

Luis Videgaray is replacing Claudia Ruiz Massieu who reportedly was opposed to President Enrique Pena Nieto hosting Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has in the past praised Luis Videgaray as “brilliant”.