President Trump tweeted Wednesday “If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,”
This comes as the Trump administration has been pushing for a solution to the growing migration problem at the US southern border.
Over the last few months, the number of illegal border crossings and, therefore, migrant arrests have risen to a 13-year high with more than 144,000 people detained in May alone. Over 40% of those are children.
Trump is calling for Mexico to make some changes so that these numbers are diminished. If they do not, tariffs at 5% will begin on June 10th for all incoming Mexican goods.
These tariffs will steadily climb until they reach 25% on October 1st.
On Wednesday. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard led a Mexican delegation to the White House where they met with Vice President Mike Pence and other US officials about the issues at hand.
President Trump was not at the meeting as he was traveling abroad in Europe.
In a later press conference, Ebrard said they were optimistic “because we had a good meeting with respectful positions from both parts,” and “we had an opportunity to explain our point of view.”
He also said they mainly discussed migration instead of tariffs and was not sure how long it would take to reach a solution.
In response to this, Trump said: “I think they want to make a deal and they sent their top people to try to do it.”
While in Ireland on Wednesday, he remarked that because of this they could reach an agreement.
The only problem seems to be that Trump wants to see immediate action taken with a swift solution, while Mexico is looking for a longer-term solution that is far less “punitive.”
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro seems positive that tariffs may not have to go into place as long as Mexico can meet three demands from the US. He says, “the most important thing is for the Mexican government to take the asylum seekers.”
However, it is also vital that Mexico beefs up its patrol of checkpoints along commonly traveled migratory routes and strengthening the patrols of its southern border, as many migrants travel from other Central American countries through Mexico to reach the US.
Trump has declared the situation as an emergency, as the immigration system is busting at the seams to take care of and detain the influx of people as humanely as possible.
Mexico isn’t the only concerned party about the threat of tariffs. Several Republican officials are pushing for a deal as well, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who says that Trump needs to make his case for the tariffs in person to lawmakers, and until then they should be delayed.
Many are also concerned that the tariffs will jeopardize the newly agreed upon trade pact between Mexico, Canada, and the US, which the White House hopes to have passed by summer. After China, Mexico is the second largest source of U.S. imports.