Fact or Fiction: Donald Trump Says Mexico Is Paying for Border Wall Through USMCA

Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on January 2 claiming Mexico will pay for the border wall through the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Trump has been consistent in saying Mexico will pay even before updating the old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the USMCA.

Question

Is Mexico paying for the border wall through this reconstructed NAFTA (USMCA)?

In his tweet, he indicated that most of the wall is finished and highlighted the approval of $5.6 billion as being very little in comparison to the benefits of national security. 

“Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!” Trump tweeted on January 2.

In addition, Trump spoke at the White House on January 10 and said that Mexico is “paying for the wall indirectly, many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made.”

Research

According to Politifact, there are major arguments against this claim because of the provisions outlined in the USMCA. This agreement doesn’t include any specific language stating Mexico has to directly or indirectly pay the United States for the wall. Also, USMCA won’t realistically take effect until around 2020 because it has not been ratified by Congress. Many qualified experts refute this claim as well.

“Donald Trump keeps repeating the ludicrous claim that somehow the revised NAFTA will fund his wall even though it remains unclear if the deal will be enacted,” Lori Wallach, a director of trade policy for the advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement to CBS.

White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp told CNN that U.S. taxpayers would ultimately fund the wall.

Another expert spoke specifically about the cost of implementing a concrete border wall in a statement for USA Today.

“Even if we accept conceptually the argument that government revenue attributable to the revised trade agreement constitutes ‘Mexico paying for the wall,’ there are no plausible assumptions of USMCA’s impact that would see government revenue increase by $25 billion,” Brookings Institution fellow Geoffrey Gertz said.

The partial government shutdown entered its 22nd day on Saturday, making it the longest shutdown to date. Trump and Democrats are still clashing over the funds necessary for the wall’s construction. The Democrats now control the House, and it is unlikely they will concede defeat to Trump.

Fact or Fiction?

Fiction.

Trump has been very consistent in his claim that Mexico is paying for a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border through USMCA, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon. USMCA is currently not approved by Congress, and the provisions don’t mention anything about Mexico paying directly or indirectly. In its present state, U.S. taxpayers would actually be funding the wall. This claim is rated as false.

What do you think?

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Screwtape
Member

The USMCA is pending Congressional approval. There’s still time for an addendum tariffing Mexico’s estimate $30B in remittances. Even at 25% that’s $7.5B.

Robert
Member

Too soon to tell, but I would not be surprised if the US economy benefits more than the cost of the steel barrier. Just reducing the flow would reduce the strain on local economies.

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