Remittances from ‘Caribbeans’ may find Trump border
By Karyl Walker
Twenty-five Caribbean countries are among 41 being earmarked by the United States Congress for taxed remittances as President Donald Trump’s administration moves ahead with plans to build a wall on the Mexican border.
A bill imposing a fee for remittance transfers was introduced by the Congress this week. The Border Wall Funding Act of 2017 is intended to upgrade the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.
The bill would have serious implications for the Caribbean, Latin America and South America, whose economies are bolstered by remittances, mainly from residents in the United States to relatives in those regions.
The bill would affect the following countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Jamaica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina
If passed by Congress, the Senate and Trump, the bill would likely mean persons in these countries would receive less cash in hand as senders will find it hard to absorb the increase.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee of Financial Services, in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the judiciary for a period to be subsequently determined by the House Speaker.
Building a border wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico was the pillar of Trump’s presidential campaign. He vowed that Mexico would pay for it but that is teetering because Mexico has refused to foot the bill.
During the campaign, Trump’s proposal to tax remittances met strong resistance from Western Union Money Transfer’s Chief Financial Officer Raj Agrawal. Last May, he said it would result in loss of revenue for the company as 11 percent of its profits are earned through remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean.