Sun, Nov 06, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Trump would ‘destroy’ US economy: Mexican tycoon

Reuters, MEXICO CITY

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on Friday said that Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plans would “destroy” the US economy and joked that Trump’s proposed wall at the US-Mexico border would be undermined by smuggling tunnels.

At an event in Mexico City, Slim made his first public comments since Trump accused him of trying to help Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Slim said that he thought it was unlikely Trump would win Tuesday’s election, and dismissed the New York businessman’s economic proposals.

“If they slap on a 35 percent [tariff] it would destroy the American economy,” Slim said at an event in Mexico City, referring to Trump’s threat to put a 35 percent tax on many goods manufactured in Mexico and shipped to the US.

The comments appeared to pit Slim, who for several years was the richest man in the world, against Trump, who has said his business acumen and experience as a real-estate developer make him the best candidate for the White House.

In a speech last month, Trump accused Slim, the top shareholder in The New York Times Co, of trying to help Clinton through his stake.

The Sulzberger family controls the company’s voting shares; Slim’s shares have limited voting rights.

Slim, asked about Trump’s comments on the sidelines of the Mexico City event, said: “I don’t even know Trump, the US elections have to be decided by the population, the people of the United States and, to be honest, the personal life of Trump doesn’t interest me.”

Trump has said he would renegotiate or tear up a key trade deal with Mexico and Canada and build a massive border wall, and has attacked US companies investing there, battering the Mexican peso.

“It’s not easy to build a wall, anyway they build tunnels and most people arrive by plane,” Slim said, referring to drug cartels digging tunnels beneath the border to smuggle their products into the US.

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