Latin America

US-Mexico talks: Trump says more progress needed to avoid tariffs

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US President Donald Trump has said "not nearly enough" progress is being made in negotiations with Mexico to avert his threatened tariffs.

Trump administration officials will meet for a second day of talks with Mexico's foreign minister in Washington on Thursday.

Mr Trump vowed import duties of 5% will take effect on Monday unless Mexico stems the flow of migrants to the US.

Those numbers reached their highest level in more than a decade last month.

What happened in the negotiations?

US Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at the White House on Wednesday, but the 90-minute meeting ended without agreement.

Mr Ebrard told a news conference afterwards the negotiations had been cordial, but tariffs were not even discussed.

"The dialogue was focused on migration flows and what Mexico is doing or is proposing to the United States, our concern about the Central American situation," he said.

The US president, who is in Europe for World War Two commemorations, warned on Twitter that the tariffs would go ahead next Monday if there is no breakthrough.

Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough! Border arrests for May are at 133,000 because of Mexico & the Democrats in Congress refusing to budge on immigration reform. Further…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2019

End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Skip Twitter post 2 by @realDonaldTrump

….talks with Mexico will resume tomorrow with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule. The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2019

End of Twitter post 2 by @realDonaldTrump

Under his proposal, duties would rise by 5% every month on goods including cars, beer, tequila, fruit and vegetables, reaching 25% by October.

Mr Trump wants Mexico to stop the hundreds of thousands of mostly Central American migrants who have been seeking entry to the US this year.

The US president announced the planned Mexico tariffs last week on Twitter, catching members of his own party and financial markets unawares.

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Will the tariffs actually happen?

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro had raised hopes earlier on Wednesday of a possible rapprochement.

He told CNN "we believe that these tariffs may not have to go into effect, precisely because we have the Mexicans' attention".

Mr Navarro said Mr Trump wants Mexico to commit to take all asylum seekers and to divert more resources to its own southern border with Guatemala.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said he is optimistic about defusing a potential trade war that analysts have said could tip his country's economy into recession.

Some commentators have speculated that Mr Trump will not follow through, pointing out that he reversed course on a threat to close the US-Mexico border in April.

But the US president insisted in a tweet on Tuesday he was not "bluffing". The US is already locked in a tit-for-tat tariff war with China.

Does Trump have political support for Mexico tariffs?

Some members of the president's Republican party in the Senate have threatened a rare revolt.

They have raised the possibility of banding together with Democrats to form a veto-proof majority against his plan.

But other Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives are sticking by Mr Trump on his signature issue.

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Many lawmakers are worried about the potential impact on cross-border trade and increased costs for US businesses and consumers on imported Mexican goods.

With the clock ticking toward next yearRead More – Source

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