Trump still hangs tariff threat over Mexico despite deal

US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House Washington DC

US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House Washington DC

Under the deal reached last Friday, Mexico agreed to use a large part of its newly formed National Guard to hold back immigrants crossing from Guatemala, and to take in possibly tens of thousands of people seeking asylum in the U.S. while their cases are adjudicated. But he said that Mexico was working on a proposal to establish a regional refuge system in conjunction with the United Nations and the governments of Guatemala, Panama and Brazil - three countries that are often starting points for migrants headed to the U.S.

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Friday's joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the "deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border". And now he appears to be doing just that, hinting that Mexico has secretly agreed to new rules that would mean asylum seekers wouldn't be in the United States while they await a ruling.

But when asked about that deal on Monday, Mr Ebrard said that there had been no additional agreement with the U.S. and that the American president was likely referring to expected growth in trade following the migration deal.

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"The challenge, as always, is to figure out what is real with Trump and what is not", said David Rehr, an influential Washington lobbyist before becoming director of the Center for Business Civic Engagement at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government.

The US president plunged relations between the two allies into crisis last week with an abrupt threat to slap tariffs on all Mexican imports over immigration. "And that was extremely important to the president", Mnuchin told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a G20 finance meeting in Fukuoka, Japan.

"When will the Failing New York Times admit that their front page story on the new Mexico deal at the Border is a FRAUD and nothing more than a badly reported "hit job" on me, something that has been going on since the first day I announced for the presidency!

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Some critics said the deal was nothing more than a way for the president to save face after threatening unpopular tariffs against Mexico.

The president also did not dismiss the idea of possibly imposing tariffs in the future, but said he doesn't think it will be needed.

Interested in Donald Trump? "We do not see taxing Americans as a negotiating tactic and will continue to discourage any reckless weaponizing of tariffs in our testimony to the administration at this month's hearings on China tariffs".

Mr Carlos Pascual, a former USA ambassador to Mexico, praised the deal as preferable to the downward spiral of a tit-for-tat trade war, but acknowledged that it left Mexico open to further pressure. The countries subsequently engaged in talks to resolve their tensions.

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He said there were no plans for trade talks in Washington or Beijing before Trump and Xi Jinping are due to meet in Osaka for the G20 summit on June 28-29. Mnuchin said that he had a "constructive" and "candid discussion on trade issues" with Gang.

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