U.S., Mexico Strike Deal to Avoid Tariffs

Late Friday evening, President Trump took to his favorite platform to make a major announcement. “I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” he tweeted. “The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.” At first glance, the agreement alluded to seems to have been based on earlier reports of Mexico redoubling its border security. The news was welcomed by all sides Friday night, weary of the damage Trump’s tariffs might have caused.

Trump’s threats were geared toward cajoling Mexico into assisting the United States in curbing migration into the country. According to a joint declaration released by the State Department, Mexico will deploy its National Guard throughout the country, particularly on its southern border. Asylum seekers crossing the U.S border will be sent back to Mexico, where they will wait for their requests to be processed. Mexico will offer these migrants “jobs, healthcare and education according to its principles.” They will also work to dismantle human smuggling operations.

The administration took a minor victory lap Friday night, and in Congress, leaders of both parties displayed visible relief. “We look forward to working alongside Mexico to fulfill these commitments to reduce the flow of illegal migration out of Mexico so that our southern border is strong and secure,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the agreement was good news “for all Americans that U.S. families won’t be hit with the price increases that would have resulted from new tariffs on imports from Mexico.” Even Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) attempted a snide congratulations to the president. “Now that the problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future.”

Mexico’s government also warmly applauded the deal. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for celebrations on Saturday, and thanked “all Mexicans who made it possible to avoid the imposition of tariffs on Mexico products exported to the United States.” Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., Martha Barcena, tweeted “cooperation for the development and prosperity of southern Mexico and Central America will be strengthened.” Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard added, “I think it’s a fair balance.”

The President’s announcement of a deal comes not a moment too soon, economically or politically. Powerful interests, in both the business community and his own party, had begun to mobilize against Trump’s tariffs. The estimated $17 billion price tag would have been a tough pill for businesses to swallow, and would have further strained his relationship with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Some Congressional Republicans were also reportedly lining up to block the imposition of those tariffs, had a deal not been struck. Whether the president first saw the writing on the wall or in the joint declaration, he now seems free to pursue passage of his U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement. One more roadblock has been kicked out of the way.

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Robert Martin (CN Staff)

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