Companies in sprint to ship goods from Mexico before tariffs
By JULIE WATSON and CEDAR ATTANASIO
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) - Companies have been rushing to ship as many goods as possible out of Mexico to get ahead of possible tariffs threatened by President Donald Trump, hurriedly sending cars, appliances and construction materials across the border to beat Monday's deadline.
Mexican-made tiles are piled up on the pavement next to a warehouse in New Mexico. A furniture factory and a jalapeno exporter are fretting about a huge financial hit next week. Hundreds of semi-trailers idled in line Friday at the truck crossing in Tijuana, carrying medical devices and Toyota cars and trucks bound for the U.S.
"You see these supply chain managers on a tear, just bringing stuff in as fast as they can," said Jerry Pacheco, president of the Border Industrial Association in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. "Almost every major supply chain manager who is bringing stuff from Mexico is scrambling to get their stuff across the border as quickly as possible."
Trump says he will impose 5% tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico starting Monday unless the country does more to stop the flow of Central American immigrants into the U.S.
The White House and Mexico representatives have been meeting in Washington in hopes of coming up with a deal that satisfies the president and averts the tariffs. Many Republicans in Washington oppose the tariffs because they fear it rattling the economy.
The tariffs were the topic of conversation at an import-export convention called "Foreign Trade and New Opportunities" Friday in Tijuana.
Sandra Maldonado, who provides legal consulting services to manufacturing plants about trade rules, said one of her clients is a furniture maker who would lose $1 million a day under the tariffs.
"There's so much uncertainty. Not even the secretary of the economy can tell us what the future holds," she said. "It's totally absurd."
Franz Felhaber, a customs broker fretting about chili exports, calculated that the tariffs will cost $35,000 for the 100 trucks that cross each day at the height of jalapeno-export season, which starts in a few weeks. Exporters have to pay duties upfront - a practice that threatens their cash flow, even if they pass on the costs to consumers.
He calculates that if tariffs are ramped up to 25 percent by October, as Trump has threatened, two-thirds of his clients will go out of business.
Myrna Aguilar, president of San Diego Customs Brokers Association, said she expects an even bigger increase in good coming into the US from Mexico through the weekend. Though companies have known about the jump in tariffs for more than a week, many had hoped that the deadline would be postponed or the hike would not happen at all.
"The major companies, especially those that tended to carry some inventory in Mexico, they're going to push it out."
Attanasio reported from El Paso, Texas.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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