WASHINGTON – Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday that there was an 80 percent chance of reaching “an understanding” with the United States to address “the important rise in the migratory flow” and avoid the imposition of tariffs threatened by President Donald Trump.
“We are working to reach an understanding. It’s feasible and desirable. 80/20 today in favor of getting it done,” Ebrard said in a Twitter post.
“At tomorrow morning’s meeting (Wednesday), which we expect to be a long meeting, (we will be) starting with the position that Mexico is already making a very big effort and we share the concern, (we) think that there can be a solution to the important rise in the migratory flow that we are experiencing,” Ebrard said earlier in a press conference in Washington.
The foreign relations secretary is scheduled to meet with his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday and said he hoped to “find a point of agreement.”
Trump, who is in the United Kingdom on an official state visit, appeared more pessimistic Tuesday about the possibility of reaching a deal with Mexico, saying in a press conference in London that the tariffs on Mexican products would probably take effect next week.
The US president said he hoped the meetings with Mexican officials in Washington would lead to a deal that avoided the imposition of 5 percent tariffs next Monday.
In response to a question about whether Republican lawmakers might try to block the tariffs, Trump played down the possibility, saying that he had “record” support among members of his party.
Ebrard arrived in Washington last Saturday with a large delegation that includes Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez; Agriculture Secretary Victor Villalobos; and Foreign Relations Undersecretary for North America Jesus Seade.
On Monday, Marquez and Villalobos met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, respectively.
Seade is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended his policy of dialogue with Washington in a press conference on Monday, saying it was part of a “strategy” to keep the situation calm.
“We have a strategy so that there will be confidence and certainty, so there will not be fear,” Lopez Obrador said.
Last Thursday, Trump said his administration would impose escalating tariffs on Mexico unless that country took aggressive steps to stop the flow of illegal migrants from Central America.
Trump said in a Twitter post that he would impose a 5 percent tariff starting June 10 on all Mexican imports unless the neighboring country halted the northward flow of US-bound migrants.
“The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,” the US president said.
“We’re not going to get caught up in a confrontation and we think that we can reach an agreement with the government of the United States ... We want to continue being friends with President Donald Trump,” the Mexican president said.