U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday pledged to impose “a major border tax” on companies that move production overseas and sell goods back to the United States.
“When you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place, and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won, for good reason, it’s not going to happen that way anymore,” Trump said at his first press conference in New York since winning the presidential election in November.
“There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving,” Trump said, but declined to offer more details of the proposed border tax, which would tax imports and create incentives for domestic production.
“You’ve got a lot of places you can move, and I don’t care, as long as it’s within the United States, the borders of the United States,” he said.
Trump has pressured Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other companies to bring factories back to the United States in recent weeks, threatening to impose the border tax on them if they shift production to Mexico.
But U.S. trade officials have warned that such a tax would be likely to face a challenge at the World Trade Organization and also take U.S. companies out of global supply chains that are now vital in competing internationally.
“If it discriminates against imports, it will raise international trade concerns and, of course, have a significant impact on any consumer or any business that relies on imports as inputs,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Tuesday in an interview with Financial Times.