- President Donald Trump's administration hinted that it might support a House Republican plan that would see the implementation of a 20% import tax as a way to pay for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which lawmakers most recently estimated at $15 billion, according to The New York Times.
- Mexico officials have pushed back on Trump's previous claims that Mexico would pay to build the wall, and Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, canceled an upcoming meeting with Trump over the controversy.
- Although the Republican bill, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, specifies between $12 and $15 billion for the wall, they didn't specify where funding would come from.
Construction of a border wall might not be all bad news for Mexican businesses. Cemex — the largest cement maker in North, Central and South America — could also stand to score big as it has operations on both sides of the border. In an acknowledgment of the opportunity, the Mexican company's stock price has surged since Trump ordered construction of the wall to move forward earlier this week, according to Bloomberg.
The wall, in whatever form it takes, has the potential to significantly impact the construction industry. Trump's calls to keep people out of the country could exacerbate the skilled labor shortage in an industry that is still heavily reliant on foreign workers. However, critics of that argument say that fewer immigrant workers will result in higher wages and more job opportunities for American workers.
Construction companies are eyeing the possibility to work on the project, which is under the purview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The actual cost to build the wall is also a point of contention, as the details of the plan are still up in the air. In an October MIT Technology Review article, a New America Foundation fellow estimated the cost at approximately $40 billion if it was constructed according to Trump's public descriptions, which Kakaes translated to mean a 1,000-mile-long, 50-foot-tall wall with a 15-foot foundation. Kakaes said labor alone for such a structure would cost $27 billion.