Mexican president hints at migration concessions to defuse U.S. tariffs threat


Mexico's president said on Saturday he expected "good results" from talks planned in Washington about U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, and floated the possibility Mexico could tighten controls on migration.

Trump proposed an increase of five percentage points per month up to October 1 when the rate reached 25 percent and would stay there, he said, "unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory".

The head of a US manufacturers association called President Donald Trump's plan to impose new tariffs on Mexico an explosive "Molotov cocktail" policy.

Several top GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns that Trump's tariff threat could upend that deal.

The attacks came despite efforts at conciliation by Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said Saturday that United States officials were willing to "reach agreements and compromises".

Apprehensions at the US border with Mexico have surged in recent months, although Mexican data also show more deportations and detentions at Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, mostly of Central Americans trying to reach the United States.

The president was back tweeting about the tariffs again Sunday morning, saying that despite talk the U.S. should "talk" to its southern neighbour, "Mexico is an "abuser" of the United States, taking but never giving" for decades - and that it could be fixed if Democrats voted with Republicans to close immigration "loopholes".

Mexico, which would likely exact retaliatory tariffs if Trump goes forward with his plan, is the No. 1 export market for USA dairy products.

"A group of 1,000 people stormed the border outside of Tijuana, Mexico, " Mulvaney declared Sunday on NBC.

"Trump says China is paying these tariffs, but they are not. I am".

He said he doubted the tariffs would ultimately take place.

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Trump said he will lift the tariffs only if "the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico".

"Our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs)", Trump wrote.

No formal talks are now scheduled between the U.S. and China after the collapse of discussions in early May.

Lopez Obrador stated on Friday that his country was "doing our job" to stem the flow of undocumented migrants - many of them fleeing poverty and violence in Central America - and he warned Trump that new tariffs would create a lose-lose situation.

The stock market's tumble on Friday all but guarantees that May will be the first monthly loss for the market in 2019.

Mexico supplies roughly 70% of the wiring harnesses used in auto manufacturing in the USA for such brands as Toyota, Honda, Mercedes Benz and Hyundai.

"This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent", Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has said. "The president is deadly serious about fixing the situation at the southern border".

NAFTA went into effect on January 1, 1994, and since has interwoven the economies of Canada, the US, and Mexico through the borderless exchange of manufactured goods that supply a variety of industries. "We urge the Administration to engage constructively with our neighbors and allies to resolve trade, migration and security issues in ways that will benefit Americans, not cause economic damage", read the Business Roundtable statement.

The tariff threat comes just as the administration has been pushing for passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It is in everyone's interest to reach an agreement", he said.