As U.S. and Mexican teams launch talks this week in Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump says he is “really okay” proceeding with his threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods unless Mexico does more to cut the number of Central American migrants reaching the border.
“Everyone is coming through Mexico — including drugs, including human trafficking — and we’re going to stop it or we’re not going to do business and that’s going to be it. It’s very simple,” Trump told reporters late Sunday.”We’ll see what can be done. But if it’s not done, you know what we’re going to be doing.”
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Mexican Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez lead off with talks Monday, and there is a scheduled meeting Wednesday between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Ebrard said he will be “firm and defend the dignity of Mexico.”
The Mexican delegation is set to lay out more of its position for the talks Monday morning at a news conference.
But as Trump reiterated his willingness to go forward with the tariff plan, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government is a friend of the U.S. government, that he wants to remain a friend of Trump, and that the Mexican people are friends with the people of the United States.
“Let us swear that nothing and nobody separates our beautiful and sacred friendship,” Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter.
He has called for dialogue in resolving tensions rather than “coercive measures.”
Trump issued his threat last week, saying the United States would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican goods beginning June 10, and would continue to raise it each month to as much as 25% by October 1.
The U.S. president said on Twitter the tariffs would remain “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our country, STOP.”