US-Mexico agreement to avoid tariffs reached

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A look at the steps Mexico is taking to deal with migrants.

Mexico has agreed to talk “unprecedented steps” to help stem the flow of migrants to the US in order to avoid trade tariffs threatened by President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump revealed that a deal had been reached to suspend the tariffs “indefinitely” in a series of tweets.

He had threatened to implement import duties of 5%, rising every month, unless Mexico acted to curb migration.

The tariffs were due to come into effect on Monday.

The deal, also confirmed in a tweet by Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, comes at the end of three days of negotiations, which saw Washington demand a crackdown on Central American migrants.

Mr Trump caught members of his own party unaware when he announced the proposed tariffs last week.

He had declared an emergency on the US-Mexico border in February, saying it was necessary in order to tackle what he claimed was a crisis with thousands of undocumented migrants crossing the frontier.

About the deal
In a joint declaration released by the US state department, the two countries said Mexico would take “unprecedented” steps to curb irregular migration and human trafficking.

But it seems the US did not get one of its reported key demands that would have required Mexico to take in asylum seekers heading for the US and process their claims on its own soil.

Under the deal, Mexico agreed to:

  • Deploy its National Guard throughout the country from Monday, pledging up to 6,000 additional troops along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala
  • Take “decisive action” in tackling human smuggling networks

The US also agreed to:

  • Expand its programme of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while they awaited reviews of their claims. In return, the US would “work to accelerate” the adjudication process

Both countries pledged to “strengthen bilateral co-operation” over border security, including “co-ordinated actions” and information sharing.

The declaration added that discussions would continue and final terms be accepted and announced within 90 days.

Should Mexico’s actions “not have the expected results”, the agreement warned that additional measures could be taken, but did not specify what these would be.

Mr Ebrard told journalists: “I think it was a fair balance, because they have more drastic measures and proposals at the start, and we have reached some middle point.”

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the agreement,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at a separate news conference.

 

Sammie Idika