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By Andrea Sosa Cabrios
and Shabtai Gold, dpa 

Tariffs: Mexican Foreign Minister to Meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Wednesday

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday that the delegation headed by Ebrard would present "proof" that his country had been active in the fight against illegal migration.

 

Alejandro Guzmán/NOTIMEX/dpa

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, speaks with his letter to US President Donald Trump.

Mexico City/Washington (dpa) – Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Friday said a summit will take place in Washington on Wednesday to "solve the dispute" between the two countries after US President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on Mexican imports.

"There is willingness to hold a dialogue. We will be firm and we will defend the dignity of Mexico," Ebrard said in a tweet, adding that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend the meeting.

Trump on Thursday announced a 5-per-cent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico to pressure the country into stopping illegal immigrants from entering the US.

He said Mexico's "passive cooperation" with the flow of illegal migrants was a threat to US security and economy. The tariff will be imposed on June 10 and be raised to 10 per cent on July 1 "if the crisis persists," Trump added.

Ebrard was in Washington on Friday in an attempt to diffuse the crisis.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday that the delegation headed by Ebrard would present "proof" that his country had been active in the fight against illegal migration.

The delegation will seek "an exchange of points of view" and "an agreement," the president said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the presidents of the two countries have not spoken directly since the tariff decision was announced, but "certainly their teams have been in regular communications."

Lopez Obrador said Mexico may seek international arbitration and complain to the World Trade Organization if the US does not abandon the tariff plan.

However, the Mexican leader expressed confidence that there will be a "correction" from Trump.

Sanders said that if Mexico started deporting migrants from Central America and stopped caravans making their way up to the US border, that would be "a very big first step."

More than 45,000 migrants were deported from Mexico between January and April, according to the country's migration authorities.

However, the number of migrants arriving in Mexico has increased after the government of Lopez Obrador, who took office on December 1, started giving them visas which allowed them to stay in the country on humanitarian grounds.

More than 109,000 migrants were arrested on the US border in April, according to US figures. That is 74.7 per cent more than in November, the last month the previous Mexican government was in power.

Trump tweeted on Friday that "Mexico has taken advantage of the United States for decades."

"Because of the Dems [Democrats], our Immigration Laws are BAD. Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the U.S., have for decades, they can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done!" he added.

"In order not to pay Tariffs, if they start rising, companies will leave Mexico, which has taken 30% of our Auto Industry, and come back home to the USA. Mexico must take back their country from the drug lords and cartels," Trump said in another tweet.

Trump announced the new tariffs just as Mexico was preparing to ratify a new trade deal with the US and Canada.

"Free trade suits us," Lopez Obrador said, adding that Mexico would continue with the ratification process.

Sanders said that the deal was "good policy."

"It's good for everybody, it's a great deal, it's something we should move forward with," she added.

According to Guillermo Malpica Soto, the head of the Mexican trade office in Washington, the United States did not formally notify Mexico about its plan to impose tariffs prior to the official announcement.

 

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