Published: Fri, June 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Democrats Hold Out on USMCA as Trump Walks Back Mexico Tariffs

Democrats Hold Out on USMCA as Trump Walks Back Mexico Tariffs

The Democratic senator's comments came two days after the US and Mexico reached a deal to avert the five-percent tariffs Trump had threatened on all imports from Mexico, a move economists said would have had a devastating impact in both countries.

"I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico", President Trump tweeted Friday.

"Here's the agreement. It's a very simple agreement".

The key part of the agreement gives the United States the authority to return migrants who apply for asylum to Mexico while they await adjudication of their cases, which can take years to be fully processed.

In the document, it was indicated that Mexico was willing to review and possibly tweak some laws to make sure the country is abiding by the agreement regarding the influx of migrants passing through the Mexico-Guatemala border.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard dropped his previous opposition to that idea in comments on Monday, but said other Latin American countries should share the asylum load with Mexico under such an arrangement.

Washington and Brussels are now preparing to begin negotiations on a trade deal in an effort to end last year's tariff war.

One of the main achievements of the talks, according to Ebrard, was getting the United States to treat immigration as a separate issue from trade.

During a Monday press conference in Mexico City, Ebrard said that if the Friday deal did not reduce the number of migrants in the next 45 days, officials from the USA and Mexico would come back to the table to discuss the issue again, the Associated Press reported.

Under the deal, Mexico will expand deployment of its national guard throughout the country, "giving priority to its southern border", according to a joint statement from the two countries.

Ebrard told reporters the talks had focused on migration, not commerce, and hypothesized that Trump was calculating an economic boost resulting from his decision not to implement the tariffs.

"There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained", said Ebrard.

He added: "I've seen some reporting that says that these countless hours were nothing, that they amounted to a waste of time".

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn at the White House, Monday, June 10, 2019, in Washington as he honors Team Penske for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 win.

Asylum seekers from El Salvador and Honduras first pass through Guatemala when fleeing their homes, while Cubans and Haitians often fly first to Panama before heading to the U.S. through Mexico.

Asylum is at the core of Trump's concerns about a surge in undocumented migration because a large proportion of the people apprehended at the U.S.

"We would start conversations about what they would like, which is for Mexico to become a safe third country", Ebrard said on a Mexican radio programme.

As part of the deal, Mexico agreed to bolster security on its southern border and expand its policy of taking back Central American migrants as the United States processes their asylum claims.

But Mexico has flatly denied the existence of any such undisclosed deal. "So we didn't bring it up, but most people know that answer".

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