Proposed US tariffs on Mexico suspended indefinitely

Daniel Fowler
June 10, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he has indefinitely suspended the threat of tariffs against Mexico after reaching "a signed agreement" on immigration.

The Mexican side, for its part, agreed to bolster security on its southern border and expand its policy of taking back Central American migrants as the United States processes their asylum claims.

A former director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy, said it was understandable that Mexico had sought to extricate itself from the tariff bind, but said Mexico ran the risk of more threats from Trump in the future.

According to Sen. Roy Blunt, POTUS Donald Trump's use of tariffs as a driving force in his negotiations with Mexico is also meant to be a message for China, as the two top world economies are in the midst of a long-standing trade war.

Mexico has agreed, it said, to "unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration", including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard throughout the country, especially on its southern border with Guatemala.

"No deal is done till it's done and announced", he added, bringing up the last-minute collapse of trade talks between the United States and China after Beijing backtracked on earlier commitments vis-a-vis security of intellectual property.

"Mexico is weak economically and it's always going to be vulnerable if the United States is willing to use economic policy to enforce national security policy", he said.

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The president went on to argue that Mexico had not historically been cooperative, but he believed a turning point had been reached. This after Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard reported that he proposed to the USA government to send 6,000 elements of the National Guard to the border with Guatemala, in the midst of negotiations for tariffs.

Trump and his Republican supporters hailed the deal as a major breakthrough, but the Democrats sharply criticized his frequent resort to tariff threats and said numerous Mexican concessions were made months ago. After that, he said: "I own my silence".

"There is now going to be great cooperation between Mexico & the U.S., something that didn't exist for decades", he said in another tweet.

Trump, in his tweets, lashed out at the New York Times for suggesting the deal was not entirely new and also pointed out that tariffs could be back on the table if the Mexican Government does not honour its end of the deal. For my part, after those news reports were published last week, I call the Mexican ambassador and said regardless of what you read in the press, understand if the president is serious about this, there are not votes to override.

He also said he would continue to impose 5 extra per cent each month nothing was done until October, when it would cap at 25 per cent tariffs on Mexican goods.

"The notion that you put a tariff because there are too many people crossing the border is just miles away from any letter and spirit of the WTO agreement", Lamy told Reuters. "And one urgent one at this moment is immigration", said Martha Barcena.

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