Washington, June 6 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has said that the progress which has been made in talks between Washington and Mexico on tariffs and immigration were not enough, renewing his threat to impose a 5 per cent tariff on all imported Mexican goods next week.
“Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough,” Trump, who is currently on a visit to Ireland, said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Bilateral talks will continue in Washington on Thursday, “with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, tariffs at the 5 per cent level will begin on Monday (June 10), with monthly increases as per schedule” up to 25 per cent in October, Trump added.
US Vice President Mike Pence hosted the meeting in his office with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and other senior American and Mexican officials, reports Xinhua news agency.
Ebrard told the media that the conversation during Wednesday’s meeting focused on immigration, while tariffs were not discussed.
The two countries’ delegations met shortly after the US Customs and Border Protection office (CBP) in a report said that the arrests of undocumented immigrants on the southern border rose to 132,887 in May, up 30 per cent from April and the highest figure in a single month since 2006.
“Both sides recognize that the current situation cannot be maintained as it is, because the (CBP) report shows the numbers and indeed, the flow is growing too much,” said Ebrard at his press conference at the Mexican Embassy in Washington.
He hinted that Mexico would be open to an agreement with the US to contain the arrival of immigrants to the latter country through its territory, a condition that Trump has imposed in return for not taxing Mexican imports, reports Efe news.
But Ebrard did not specify whether Mexico is willing to give in to any of the three specific requests from the US to curb tariffs, listed on Wednesday by White House Trade Adviser, Peter Navarro.
Ebrard clarified that there were still differences between the two sides in “what the US government is looking for are measures that have a short-term effect”.
“On behalf of Mexico, we believe that measures should be taken not only in the immediate and not just punitive”, but to reach “a broader understanding” on migration issues, he added.
On Thursday, Ebrard will meet Pompeo’s team to continue with the agenda he has been working on since his arrival in Washington on Saturday to try to deter the Trump administration from imposing tariffs.
Several Republican senators have already spoken out against tariffs which would harshly affect border states considering the US is Mexico’s main trading partner.