mexican imports
The administration is considering a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for the border wall. Above, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspect Mexican pineapple, Oct. 17, 2016 in Laredo, Texas. John Moore/Getty Images

President Donald Trump may have decided how to make Mexico pay for his border wall: Spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday Trump wants to impose a 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico, the third largest supplier of U.S. imports.

In a brief meeting with reporters aboard Air Force One as the president headed back to Washington from Philadelphia, Spicer told reporters a plan is “taking shape” to tax countries with whom the U.S. runs a trading deficit.

The U.S. Trade Representative said Mexican imports in 2015 totaled $295 billion while exports totaled $236 billion, creating a $59 billion trade deficit.

“If you tax that $50 billion at 20 percent of imports – which is by the way a practice that 160 other countries do – right now our country’s policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous. By doing that we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone. That’s really going to provide the funding,” Spicer said.

Spicer said the White House already has consulted Congress about the proposal.

“It clearly provides the funding and does so in a way that the American taxpayer is wholly respected,” Spicer said, adding the U.S. is probably “the only country” that does not tax imports.

“This gets us in line frankly with the policies that the other countries around the world treat our products,” he said.

A 20 percent import tax could raise the price of everything from fruits and vegetables to the family car.

In 2015, the U.S. imported $21 billion in agricultural products, including $4.8 billion in fresh vegetables, $4.3 billion in fresh fruit, $2.7 billion in wine and beer, $1.7 billion in snack foods and $1.4 billion in processed fruit and vegetables.

The U.S. also imported $74 billion in vehicles, $63 billion in electrical machinery, $49 billion in other machinery, $14 billion in mineral fuels and $12 billion in optical and medical instruments.

Mexican exports to the U.S. represent 80 percent of the country's exports.

Trump had been planning to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto next Tuesday but Pena Nieto canceled the meeting Thursday, tweeting, “This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting planned for next Tuesday with @POTUS.”

Trump said during the weekend he intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and the meeting with Pena Nieto had been seen as a first step. The administration also has put up a webpage saying free trade agreements had devastated the U.S. manufacturing base.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called the import tax proposal a "big-time bad idea."