Men carry containers of black-market gasoline, recently brought illegally across the Suchiate River on rafts, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Thursday. President Donald Trump has pledged to impose 5% tariffs on Mexican products unless Mexico country prevents Central American migrants from traveling through its territory. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Men carry containers of black-market gasoline, recently brought illegally across the Suchiate River on rafts, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Thursday. President Donald Trump has pledged to impose 5% tariffs on Mexican products unless Mexico country prevents Central American migrants from traveling through its territory. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Trump now says ‘good chance’ on tariff deal

Mexico agreed to deploy 6,000 troops to its border with Guatemala to control the flow of migrants.

By Jill Colvin, Matthew Lee and Luis Alonso Lugo / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — After a week of threats, President Donald Trump declared Friday that “there is a good chance” the U.S. will strike a deal with Mexico to avert the tariffs he’s scheduled to take effect Monday to force the U.S. ally to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States.

Trump tweeted his more optimistic view from Air Force One as he flew home from Europe. “If we are unable to make the deal, Mexico will begin paying Tariffs at the 5% level on Monday!”

The tweet marked a change in tone from earlier Friday, when his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters in Ireland before Trump took off: “Our position has not changed. The tariffs are going forward as of Monday.”

U.S. and Mexican officials held a third day of talks at the U.S. State Department trying to hash out a deal that would satisfy Trump’s demand that Mexico dramatically increase its efforts to crack down on migrants. Sanders said the two sides had “made a lot of progress” but not enough.

The talks were said to be focused, in part, on attempting to reach a compromise on changes that would make it harder for migrants who pass through Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S., those monitoring the situation said. Mexico has opposed such a change but appeared open to considering a potential compromise that could include exceptions or waivers for different types of cases.

The initial 5% tax on all Mexican goods, which would increase every month up to 25%, could ultimately have enormous economic implications for both countries. Americans bought $378 billion worth of Mexican imports last year, led by cars and auto parts. Many members of Trump’s Republican Party and business allies have urged him to reconsider — or at least postpone actually implementing the tariffs as talks continue — citing the potential harm to American consumers and manufacturers.

Trump has nonetheless embraced tariffs as a political tool he can use to force countries to comply with his demands — in this case on his signature issue of immigration.

Trump appeared poised to invoke an emergency declaration that would allow him to put the tariffs into effect if that is his final decision, according to people monitoring the talks.

“If negotiations continue to go well,” Trump “can turn that off at some point over the weekend,” Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, told reporters.

During the first round of talks Wednesday, the gulf between the countries was clear. Mexico offered small and so far undisclosed concessions; the U.S. demanded major action. The U.S. once again pressed Mexico to step up enforcement on its southern border and to enter into a “safe third country agreement” that would make it difficult for those who enter Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S.

Trump officials have said Mexico can prevent the tariffs by securing its southern border with Guatemala, cracking down on criminal smuggling organizations and overhauling its asylum system. But the U.S. has not proposed concrete benchmarks to assess whether Mexico is complying, and it is unclear whether even those steps would be enough to satisfy Trump on illegal immigration, an issue he sees as crucial to his 2020 re-election campaign.

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would not say whether he would accept his country agreeing to be a “safe third country.”

“That is being looked at,” he said Friday morning during his daily news conference, where he held out hope a deal could be reached before Monday’s deadline.

In addition, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday his country had agreed to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to its border with Guatemala to help control the flow of migrants as part of its concessions.

Beyond Trump and several White House advisers, few in his administration believe the tariffs are a good idea, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. Those people worry about the negative economic consequences for Americans and believe the tariffs — which would likely spark retaliatory taxes on U.S. exports — would also hurt the administration politically.

Republicans in Congress have warned the White House that they are ready to stand up to the president to try to block his tariffs, which they worry would spike costs to U.S. consumers, harm the economy and imperil a major pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal.

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Paul Wiseman, Lisa Mascaro, Darlene Superville and Padmananda Rama in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in Shannon, Ireland contributed to this report.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, poses with a production electric engine, the magni500, at the  company's new office on Seaway Boulevard on Monday, Jan. 18, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Electric aircraft developer magniX moves HQ to Everett

The company builds electric motors, and it’s teaming with Arlington’s Eviation to launch a fully electric plane.

FILE- In this Sept. 30, 202, file photo, a Boeing 737 Max jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
European aviation agency: 737 Max to be cleared next week

The review of the aircraft “began with the MCAS but went far beyond.”

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 file photo, workers stand near a Boeing 737 Max airplane parked at Renton Municipal Airport next to the Boeing assembly facility in Renton, Wash., where 737 Max airplanes are made. On Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, the company reported final 2020 numbers for airplane orders and deliveries, and they are down from 2019 even though the 737 Max is flying again. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Canada OKs return of Boeing 737 Max aircraft

The planes will be permitted to fly as long as they meet specific safety conditions.

Garry Clark
Economic Alliance Snohomish County names new CEO

After nationwide search, Garry Clark, a Nebraska business advocate, will take the helm in February.

Snohomish Delivers concierge Sarah Dylan Jensen picks up tea from Everything Tea on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2020 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A Snohomish service brings goods from the store to your door

Developed by the city, Snohomish Delivers encourages online shoppers to look local. And it’s free.

Arthur Sepulveda, 32, has been looking for his first home since July. He put in bids for four houses and finally found one last month in Lynnwood directly from the builder. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Low mortgage rates fuel a frenzied, revved-up housing market

Home prices are soaring and bidding wars are back, and Snohomish County “Zoom towns” are hot locations.

Adam Ling works securing rebar reinforcement for a set of stairs on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2020 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
With lots of people working at home, a rush for renovations

Homeowners with remodeling plans are keeping local contractors busy. Winter hasn’t slowed them down.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 file photo, workers stand near a Boeing 737 Max airplane parked at Renton Municipal Airport next to the Boeing assembly facility in Renton, Wash., where 737 Max airplanes are made. On Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, the company reported final 2020 numbers for airplane orders and deliveries, and they are down from 2019 even though the 737 Max is flying again. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Boeing deliveries drop despite 737 Max’s return to flight

The company has borrowed billions and cut thousands of jobs to reduce costs.

Kim Williams, CEO of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and Providence Northwest, will retire July 1. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Kim Williams, the local Providence CEO, will retire July 1

She was born at Providence in Everett and leads the health care provider’s northwest Washington group.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 file photo, a United Airlines Boeing 737 Max airplane takes off in the rain at Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash. Boeing improperly influenced a test designed to see how quickly pilots could respond to malfunctions on the Boeing 737 Max, and Federal Aviation Administration officials may have obstructed a review of two deadly crashes involving the plane, Senate investigators say. In a report released Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 the Senate Commerce Committee also said the FAA continues to retaliate against whistleblowers.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing to pay $2.5B to settle criminal charge over 737 Max

The settlement includes money for crash victims’ families, airline customers and airlines, and a fine.

Britt Morgan, left, who manages the Scriber Creek Apartments and twin sister Rachel Morgan, who manages the Madison Way Apartments on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Twin bridges in the challenging landlord-tenant relationship

When the rent is unpaid, property owners and lessors look to Rachel and Britt Morgan for help.

FILE - In this June 12, 2017, file photo, a Boeing 787 airplane being built for Norwegian Air Shuttle is shown at Boeing Co.'s assembly facility, in Everett, Wash. Boeing is dealing with a new production problem involving its 787 jet, in which inspections have found flaws in the way that sections of the rear of the plane were joined together. Boeing said Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, it's not an immediate safety risk but could cause the planes to age prematurely. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing Dreamliner’s defects spur $7.5 billion cash drain

The company intends to repair 787 planes at its factory in Everett