WASHINGTON – United States President Donald Trump announced the indefinite suspension of tariffs against Mexican imports after the two countries signed a deal on Friday to stem the flow of migrants from Central America to the US.
The proposed tariffs, which had been due to take effect on Monday, were lifted after the US and Mexico signed an agreement following three days of negotiations in Washington.
“The United States (...) has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” Trump announced on his official Twitter account.
“The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the US (...) against Mexico are hereby indefinitely suspended,’’ the president said.
In return, he said Mexico had agreed to take “strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border,” adding that this was “being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.”
Last week, Trump had announced that, starting Jun. 10, tariffs of five percent would be imposed on imports from Mexico, a duty that would rise gradually each month up to 25 percent in October if Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was unable to slow the rate of migration at the border between the US and Mexico.
In response, Lopez Obrador sent a delegation to Washington led by his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, for talks with US representatives to negotiate the deal.
In a joint declaration on Friday, the US and Mexico said that “both countries recognize the vital importance of rapidly resolving the humanitarian emergency and security situation” at their shared border.
One of the concessions made by Mexico on Thursday was to send 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border with Guatemala, a crossing point for thousands of Central American migrants heading for the US.
The statement also said that the US would immediately start returning asylum seekers to Mexico, which in turn pledged to “authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons” while their asylum claims are processed.
The Mexican president thanked his fellow citizens for their support in avoiding the tariffs taking effect.
“Thanks to the support of all Mexicans, we were able to avoid the tariffs on Mexican goods being exported to the US,” he said on Twitter.
Lopez Obrador also said that a rally in Tijuana on Saturday to “defend the dignity of Mexico” would celebrate the signing of the agreement.
At an event in Los Cabos in Baja California on Friday, Lopez Obrador had rejected the “predominance of the strong” and had urged increased dialogue and communication to reach a consensus on the issue of migration.
Trump has made immigration one of the cornerstones of his mandate; during his campaign, he had promised to build a wall on the border, and has sought increased federal funds to tackle what he has described as a crisis and “grave disaster” at the US-Mexico border that has seen the country be “invaded by hundreds of thousands people.”
In May, the US detained more than 132,000 migrants at its border, 30 percent more than the previous month and the highest figure since 2006.