San Diego's Small Business Owners Fret Over President Trump's Tax Hike Idea

The White House said Thursday that imposing a 20 percent tax hike on Mexican imports would be one way to pay for the building of his border wall

Serving up ceviche is San Diego resident Juan Carlos Recamier’s passion. But, for him, President Donald Trump's idea to impose a 20 percent tax hike on Mexican imports to build a wall, feels personal.

"It hits home. I’m from Mexico City," Recamier told NBC 7 on Thursday night.

Today, Recamier lives the American dream. He opened his own business in North Park, the Ceviche House, which specializes in fresh, healthy ceviche made with local produce and sustainable seafood.

Thursday's talk of Trump's tax idea was troubling for the small, local business owner.

"Of course it hurts. It’s not an economically motivated practice," he said.

Partially because of seasonal availability, some of Recaimer's produce such as bell peppers, avocado and jicama come from Mexico.

If Trump succeeds in imposing the tax on imports, Recamier is concerned about what that may mean for his restaurant and for other members of San Diego's small business community.

"Everyone is going to have to adjust their prices," he lamented. "It’s really tough for me to talk to customers and explain I have to raise my prices because tariffs are coming."

Currently, the United States and Mexico do about $ 1.6 billion dollars a day in cross-border trade. Mexico is one of the largest suppliers of agricultural imports to the U.S.

The staff at La India Bonita, a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Chula Vista, says the eatery gets 90 percent of its produce from Mexico. Any sustained price increase would likely be served up to the customer, according to Tony Valencia.

“It’s a huge chain reaction. Unfortunately if it does happen, the only ones that suffer are the customers,” Valencia told NBC 7.

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said 92 percent of San Diego's exports are sold to Mexico, employing 117,000 people. The EDC said the potential for retaliatory tariff's are troubling.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer weighed in on the matter Thursday, releasing this statement:

"We already have a safe and secure border in San Diego built by the federal government. But we also have strong economic and cultural binational ties that have my unwavering support. Keeping trade moving in both directions safely and securely is important to San Diego’s economy and helps create local jobs."

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