Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Deal with Mexico

It would appear that Donald Trump's tariff threat worked.

Donald Trump had announced the tariff threat in response to a surge in illegal migration to the U.S. through Mexico this year. More than 144,000 people were apprehended after illegally crossing the southern border in May or were refused entry to the U.S. That’s the most in a single month in at least five years; the number has grown every month since January.

Have tariffs become an official weapon for Donald Trump to achieve his geopolitical goals? It would appears so. As Bloomberg notes, US negotiators had been asking Mexico since the election of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in July 2018 to do more to stop the flow of migrants. But it was only in the past week, under the threat of tariffs, that they felt Mexico had begun negotiating seriously, according to a U.S. official.

Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, who was in the Washington for the talks, said in a tweet that the tariffs wouldn’t be imposed, giving his “Thanks to everyone who has supported us by realizing the greatness of Mexico" and adding previously that the country was prepared to deploy about 6,000 guard troops. And the country already has been hosting asylum seekers while their cases were being processed.

While the U.S. had originally demanded that Central American migrants apply for asylum in Mexico instead of the U.S, Mexico beat back that demand. Also, there was no formal language related to increased purchases of U.S. agricultural products, as Trump promised on Twitter, but on Saturday he used Twitter to announce, in call capital letters, Mexico’s buying plans without providing details.

As Bloomberg further notes, this was not the first time the president has faced criticism over his stance on tariffs. What made this time different was just how alone Trump was in his position. The list of opponents to the idea was long: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, farm groups, automakers and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who took the rare step of saying publicly he disagreed with the president. Additionally, opposition to the tariff threat was present even within the Trump administration as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly opposed them, as did Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the New York Times reported.

Shortly after the announcement, relieved Republicans quickly rallied around the president for securing the deal and suggested this could clear the way for Congress to approve the new trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, known as the USMCA.

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