MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president said on Saturday he expected “good results” from talks planned in Washington about U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, and floated the possibility Mexico could tighten controls on migration.
Trump said he will apply the tariffs on June 10 if Mexico does not halt the flow of illegal immigration, largely from Central America, across the U.S.-Mexican border. His ultimatum hurt Mexican financial assets and denting global stocks.
In a news conference in the Gulf of Mexico port of Veracruz, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said a delegation led by his foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard, who is due to meet U.S. officials in Washington on Wednesday, would explain what Mexico has undertaken to address the problem.
“The main thing is to inform about what we’re already doing on the migration issue, and if it’s necessary, to reinforce these measures without violating human rights,” he said.
Trump’s threat is the biggest foreign policy test to date for Lopez Obrador and a tall order for Mexican authorities struggling not only to contain migration but also to fight record gang violence.
Mexico’s economy relies heavily on exports to the United States and shrank in the first quarter. Under Trump’s plan, U.S. tariffs that could rise as high as 25% this year, threatening major damage to wide swathes of the economy.
Lopez Obrador said Mexico would not engage in any trade wars with the United States, but noted that his government had a “plan” in case Trump did apply the tariffs to ensure the country was not impoverished. He did not provide details of the plan.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Paul Simao and Alistair Bell)