Trump Deal With Mexico a Win for 'Hostage-Taking': Former WTO Chief

Mexico's exports of everything from automobiles to avocados could be hit hard by President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs

The United States and Mexico have reached an agreement on migration, U.S. President Donald Trump announced late Friday, with the punishing tariffs he had been threatening "indefinitely suspended".

In the tweets, Trump said "the tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the US on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended". "The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended".

Mexico also agreed to take stronger measures to curb the flow of migrants, including deploying militarized National Guard forces on its southern border beginning on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has continually railed against illegal immigration as a candidate and since taking office, had threatened to impose 5% import tariffs on all Mexican goods from Monday if Mexico did not do more to tighten its borders.

Mr Lamy said it was understandable that Mexico had sought to extricate itself from the tariff bind, but noted it ran the risk of facing more threats from Mr Trump in future.

The United States slapped tariffs of up to 25 per cent on US$200 billion (S$272 billion) in Chinese imports last month, prompting Beijing to levy its own tariffs on US$60 billion in American goods.

Talks had gotten off to a shaky start Wednesday, as the USA once again pressed Mexico to step up enforcement on its southern border with Guatemala and to enter into a "safe third country agreement" overhauling its asylum system. The U.S. committed to accelerate asylum claims while Mexico said it will "offer jobs, healthcare and education according to its principles".

More news: Oil Drops as U.S. Stockpiles Report Stokes Fears of Supply Glut

And while such a measure never made it into the agreement, Mexican officials also expressed an openness to discussing something they had long opposed: having Mexico become a "safe third country", which would make it harder for asylum-seekers who pass through the country to claim refuge in the U.S. Mexico is the second-biggest source of USA imports.

One senior government official insisted to the Times that the Mexican government agreed to move to deter migrants faster and more aggressively than they ever had before this week's talks. Just a few days later, he backed off that threat, saying he was pleased with steps Mexico had taken.

Migrants and residents use a makeshift raft to cross the Suchiate river from El Carmen in Guatemala to Talisman in Chiapas State, Mexico, on June 7, 2019.

Beyond Trump and several White House advisers, few in his administration had believed the tariffs were a good idea, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations.

Some Republican lawmakers, normally close political allies of Trump, had said they would try to block any potential tariffs with legislation, which also would draw wide support from opposition Democrats.

But business groups and even some close Republican allies were unhappy with the prospect of tariffs on the top US trade partner, saying they would damage the economy.

This is an historic night!

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