KU News Service

Tariff threat to Mexico potential abuse of presidential powers, imprudent in face of trade war, professor says

Fri, 05/31/2019

LAWRENCE — President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would impose tariffs on all goods entering the United States on Mexico to motivate the country to do more to stop the flow of illegal immigration.

The tariffs are set to take effect June 10 at 5 percent and gradually increase to 25 percent “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump announced via Twitter. Raj Bhala, Brenneisen Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law and an international trade law expert, is available to speak with media about the move and its effects. Bhala can discuss tariffs, trade between the U.S. and Mexico, NAFTA, the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, trade law, effects of tariffs on nations, economies and consumers and more. The latest announcement presents multiple problems politically, economically and internationally, Bhala said.

“The threat of across-the-board tariffs is a potential abuse of presidential emergency powers, a violation of WTO and NAFTA rules and is highly imprudent when America’s attention should be on its major trade war with China and the possibility of a real war with Iran,” Bhala said.

Bhala has a global reputation in the scholarship of international trade law. He lectures around the world and is the author of the acclaimed four-volume “International Trade Law: A Comprehensive Textbook,” now in its fifth edition, two-volume treatise “Modern GATT Law” and “TPP Objectively: Law, Economics and National Security of History’s Largest, Longest Free Trade Agreement.” He practiced international banking law at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before entering academia and currently serves as senior adviser to Dentons in Kansas City. Bhala has worked in more than 25 countries, including Mexico, Canada, China, Australia, England, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and throughout India.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

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