US-Mexico trade war could hit Mexico economy, spur migration

If President Donald Trump makes good on threats to gut NAFTA and impose stiff tariffs on Mexican goods, economists say he risks a trade war that could lead to the very thing he is hoping to avoid — a huge surge in Mexican migration to the United States.

The result would be catastrophe for the Mexican economy: Recession. A dramatic weakening of the peso, even below the historic lows it has already set amid Trump's bellicose rhetoric. Soaring inflation, interest rates and unemployment.

"Mexico is smaller than the U.S. and can be harmed by conflict more than the U.S. would be," said Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank that supports free trade.