Mexico’s president expressed optimism Tuesday that the U.S. and Mexico could strike a deal on immigration before the scheduled June 10 implementation of President Donald Trump’s tariff on products from Mexico.
“There are signs that it matters to the U.S. officials that there’s a deal,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a news conference, Reuters reported.
Trump said the tariffs would be slapped on goods coming from Mexico unless it makes efforts to stop the flow of Central American migrants passing through Mexico on their way to the U.S.
Lopez Obrador said Mexico has a drafted a proposal that it will present to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
“I think the meeting tomorrow will be important and that there will be a deal before June 10, before this tariff comes into effect,” he said.
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Lopez Obrador has tried to avoid escalating the situation.
“We are not going to get caught up in a confrontation,” he said Monday.
“We continue considering the U.S. government to be a friend of the government of Mexico, and I want to continue being a friend of President Donald Trump,” he said.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who is already in Washington, was upbeat on the talks.
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“We’re going to find common ground, I think,” Ebrard said.
On Monday, he argued against Trump’s policy, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Tariffs, along with cuts of financial aid to northern Central American countries, would be counterproductive, would not address migration flows and could reduce Mexico’s capacity to give alternatives to migrants,” he said.
Trump, currently in Britain as part of a three-day state visit, was asked about Mexico and his proposed tariff during a Tuesday news conference in London.
“This will take effect next week, 5 percent,” Trump said, according to NPR.
Trump said he is all for talks but would not necessarily delay implementation of the tariffs just because discussions are ongoing.
“I think Mexico will step up and do what they should have done,” Trump said, later adding that there is no reason why Mexico cannot act.
“I don’t want to hear that Mexico is run by cartels and drug lords and coyotes,” he said. “I don’t want to hear about that … Mexico should step up and stop this onslaught, this invasion into our country.”
Some Republicans have indicated they might wish to soften Trump’s hard-line approach.
“I appreciate President Trump’s unwavering commitment to securing our southern border and enforcing our immigration laws,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a statement.
“But it’s important to remember that any actions that we take to secure our southern border must also keep in mind the important role that Mexico plays in the economy of the United States.”
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