US President Donald Trump wants a new 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern US border.
No details were available on how the tax would work but White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that Mr Trump wanted it to be part of a tax reform package that the US Congress is contemplating.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says Congress is moving ahead with the wall that would cost US$12 billion to US$15 billion (NZ$16.5 billion to NZ$20.7 billion).
- Mexico was the US' 3rd largest supplier of goods imports in 2015
- US goods imports from Mexico totalled US$295 billion in 2015
- The top import categories in 2015 were: vehicles (US$74 billion), electrical machinery (US$63 billion), machinery (US$49 billion), mineral fuels (US$14 billion), and optical and medical instruments (US$12 billion).
- US imports of agricultural products from Mexico totalled US$21 billion in 2015, its 2nd largest supplier of agricultural imports.
Mr McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan did not say how Congress would pay for the wall.
"We anticipate a supplemental (budget) coming from the administration," Mr Ryan said at a news conference.
"The point is we're going to finance the Secure Fence Act."