Trump's Mexico tax is a stupid way to fund a stupid wall

If that is not up front, then it may come eventually - perhaps under the latest proposal being floated by Donald Trump's White House, a massive 20% border tax on Mexican imports.

On Thursday, a White House spokesman said one potential way to pay for the wall could be to apply a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, as well as other countries with which the US has a trade deficit.

"I have said it time and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall", he said, referring to Trump's vow to make the southern neighbor pay for the barrier.

Amid an escalating crisis between neighboring nations, President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had a "constructive" and "productive" telephone conversation early Friday.

And even if money has to be appropriated in advance, it would be "well worth it" to secure the border, said Brewer, "taking into consideration certainly what we have spent in Arizona".

A man stops to read headlines, many featuring U.S. President Donald Trump's actions to jump-start construction on a promised border wall and his insistence that Mexico will foot the bill, in Mexico City, Jan. 26, 2017.

USA taxpayers would have to front the cost of at least $10 billion.

Holding true to his campaign promise, Trump on Wednesday ordered US officials to begin to design and construct a wall along the 3,200km US-Mexico border.

By the end of the day, Trump had on his hands his first worldwide dispute without a considered response to Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto, who called off their meeting scheduled for next week.

In his comments Wednesday, Peña Nieto said: "I regret and condemn the United States's decison to pursue the construction of a wall that far from uniting us, has been dividing us for years".

The rift between the neighbours and trade partners has deepened just days into Mr Trump's presidency. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that six million depend on trade with Mexico.

The decision to possibly rethink the visit comes amid growing outrage in Mexico, and a sense among many that Pena Nieto has been too weak in the face of Trump's tough policy stance.

"We have a really very good relationship the president and I, and we had a talk that lasted for about an hour this morning and we are going to be working on a fair relationship and a new relationship", he added.

Some of the border is already fenced, but Trump says a wall is needed to stop illegal immigrants entering from Latin America.

  • David Armstrong