Chicago Coffee Entrepreneur Pans Trump’s Proposed Tax On Mexican Imports

(CBS) — The White House floated a plan to tax Mexican imports by up to 20 percent, to help pay for the border wall that President Trump has advocated.

The potential tax is not sitting well with some here in Chicago, who depend on Mexican imports, CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reports.

The 20 percent tax on imports is just an idea at this point, but even the possibility of it becoming a reality has some local business worried about their future.

“With a 20 percent hike, that puts that in jeopardy,” says Jesse Iniguez of Back of the Yards Coffee Co. “Our company and a lot of small business will be affected adversely.”

Iniguez is grounding company in the heart of the South Side neighborhood. His company buys its beans from Mexico. A dollar from each bag of coffee he sells goes right into helping a social service here in Chicago.

“We are just providing a tool through coffee, so two communities can help each other,” he says.

The brewing business might be in jeopardy under the Trump Mexico tax idea.

“We absolutely need Mexico. It’s an extremely important partner both as an ally and as a country with which we do a lot of business,” says Phil Levy, Senior Fellow on Global Economy at the Chicago Consulate Global Affairs.

In 2015, some of the top imports from Mexico were vehicles ($74 billion); electric machinery ($63 billion); and mineral fuels ($14 billion).

Mexico is America’s third-largest supplier of goods and second-largest supplier of agricultural goods, things like fresh vegetables/fruit ($9.1 billion); wine and beer ($2.7 billion); and snacks ($1.7 billion).

Trump walked back the 20 percent import tax idea, saying it is something to consider.

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