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Trump Affect: Denim tariff may hurt both sides of border

The United States has threatened to impose tariffs on products, among them denim, imported from Mexico. But it’s American consumers who would end up bearing the brunt. Half the jeans sold in the United States are made in Mexico. Imposing tariffs on a product so popular among US consumers would cause several problems. Mexican firms are the second biggest suppliers of denim to the US.

More than 2,000 manufacturers spread throughout Mexico are dedicated to denim and jeans production. More than 1,25,000 Mexicans depend on the industry for their livelihood. There is a widespread sense of uncertainty among jeans producers and manufacturers in the country.

But jobs in the US could also be affected. Over 64,000 US workers depend on the Mexico-US denim trade, particularly in the states of North and South Carolina and Georgia. US firms send the denim fabric to Mexican textile assembly plants, where the garments are sewn and given finishing touches. Once finished, the final product is shipped back north. Firms purchase the garments made in Mexico and sell them in the US. The back and forth movement of products across the border is tariff-free. The annual trade in men’s jeans is worth more than eight billion dollars.