Trucks wait in a long queue for border customs control to cross into the U.S. at the Otay Mesa border crossing. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce blasted President Trump’s plan to levy tariffs on goods imported from Mexico, saying they would have “dire consequences” for the regional economy.

Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the chamber and a former Mayor of San Diego, said his organization “strongly opposes the use of tariffs as a threat against Mexico.”

Trump tweeted Thursday that he would impose 5% tariffs on June 10 and raise them by 5% every month until Mexico stops Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States.

Most products imported from Mexico are actually produced in factories owned by American companies because of continent-spanning supply chains. So the tariffs would amount to taxes on American products and be paid by American consumers.

“In San Diego we aren’t just trading with Mexico. We are producing together,” said Sanders. “The implementation of tariffs would have dire consequences on our region’s highly developed integrated supply chain, adversely affecting our local manufacturing and trade-related jobs.”

Stock futures plummeted over 200 points Thursday immediately following Trump’s tweet, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 300 points to fall below 25,000 after markets opened Friday morning.

Peter Navarro, the one-time San Diego mayoral candidate who is now Trump’s trade advisor, told CNBC that the tariffs are necessary because Mexico is exporting immigrants. He termed the President’s tariff plan “brilliant.”

“If you look at it from an investor’s point of view and a corporate point of view, what we have in Mexico is the export, one of their high exports, of illegal aliens. And it’s a criminal enterprise,” Navarro said.

Sanders warned that the tariffs could lead to another trade war, this time with a major ally and economic partner, that would have long-term consequences.

“The resulting trade war will have a chilling effect on the U.S.-Mexico relationship and runs counter to U.S. efforts on border management and security,” he said. “Not to mention hurting our chances of passing USMCA, the new trade agreement.”

Updated at 7:30 a.m., Friday, May 31

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.