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On Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump tapped off a tweet aimed at Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, not a warning but simply a statement — telling Mexico that starting on June 10 a set of increasing tariffs will go into effect.
Not just on some things, but on every product that Mexico sends across the border. Until illegal immigration is brought under control on their side, the penalties will ratchet up as time goes by.
On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
As promised, President Trump’s post was followed up by an official White House statement.
It didn’t take long for Mexico to respond. Within hours, Reuters news put out a message on their Twitter account, stating “Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador asks Trump to have U.S. officials meet with the Mexican foreign minister in Washington on Friday to seek a solution that benefits both nations.
JUST IN: Mexico's President Lopez Obrador asks Trump to have U.S. officials meet with the Mexican foreign minister in Washington on Friday to seek a solution that benefits both nations https://t.co/FqaPR9apcm pic.twitter.com/onyEIhklic
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 31, 2019
The White House statement went into explicit details and the tone was firm. “The United States of America has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico and entering our country illegally,” the notice begins.
“This sustained influx of illegal aliens has profound consequences on every aspect of our national life — overwhelming our schools, overcrowding our hospitals, draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime.”
The White house notes:
“Mexico could quickly and easily stop illegal aliens from coming through its southern border with Guatemala.”
President Trump points out that he has the full legal authority to go through with the escalating system of tariffs under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Mexican officials are obviously starting to panic. Liberal reporters were immediately on the phone to acting White House chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to ask “which products from Mexico could be affected by the tariffs,” Conservative news site Sorrel River writes. Mulvaney simply replied, “all of them.” For clarification, he added, “this is an urgent problem. we are interested in seeing the Mexican government act tonight, tomorrow.”
Pundits say there isn’t much leverage that Obrador can bring to bear on the issue, especially after he sees what’s already started to happen in the stock markets. Any company doing business in Mexico is expected to feel the pain.
Reuters notes that Obrador expects “good results” to come from the upcoming meeting. “The main thing,” Obrador mentions, “is to inform about what we’re already doing on the migration issue, and if it’s necessary to reinforce these measures without violating human rights, we could be prepared to reach that deal.”
Mexico has no stomach for any kind of trade war with the United States, Obrador assures. “We’re doing all we can to reach a deal through dialogue. We’re not going to get into a trade war, a war of tariffs and of taxes.”