US President Donald Trump could pay for a wall on the southern border with a new 20 percent tax on goods from Mexico, the White House said on Thursday, deepening a crisis after plans for a summit with the Mexican president fell apart.
Trump wants the measure to be part of a broader tax overhaul package that the US Congress is contemplating, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday.
Spicer said: "We have a new tax at $50 billion at 20 percent of imports -which is, by the way, a practice that 160 other countries do right now."
"Our country's policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous. But by doing it that way we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall. Just through that mechanism alone," Spicer told reporters traveling with Trump to Philadelphia.
It was not immediately clear how the tax would work. Parts of the proposal that Spicer described resemble an existing idea, known as a border adjustment tax, being considered by the Republican-led US House of Representatives.
The White House later on Thursday said it was not endorsing the border adjustment tax.
TRT World's Simon Marks has more details from Washington.