‘We have been working this afternoon, we still do not have an agreement…’
(AFP) The United States intends to apply punitive tariffs on imports from Mexico on Monday despite progress in talks on stemming migration, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Friday.
“Our position hasn’t changed,” Sanders told reporters heading on Air Force One to Shannon, Ireland, as President Donald Trump wrapped up a week-long trip to Europe.
“They’ve made a lot of progress,” she said. “The meetings have gone well, but as of now we’re still on track for tariffs on Monday.”
Sanders’ comments came after two days of crunch talks in Washington by top officials from both countries to head off the tariffs, which could deal a stunning blow to the Mexican economy.
The Trump administration has demanded Mexico take tough action to halt the flow of hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants towards the United States, insisting it down its border with Guatemala and agree to let asylum seekers register their claims inside Mexico.
Last week Trump announced that, starting from Monday, June 10, a five percent tariff would be applied to all goods from export-dependent Mexico, rising by five percentage points each month to a high of 25 percent, until US demands on migrant controls were satisfied.
On Thursday Mexico scrambled to appease Washington, agreeing to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border, blocking a new migrant caravan and freezing the bank accounts of suspected human traffickers.
But it appeared there was no agreement between Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and US negotiators led by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the asylum question.
“We have been working this afternoon, we still do not have an agreement,” Ebrard said Thursday as talks wrapped for the day.
“Tomorrow we have another session in the morning and we will continue forward.”
© Agence France-Presse