Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday he will soon travel to the border city of Tijuana to "defend the dignity" of his nation in the face of U.S. tariff threats, as talks were set to resume in Washington. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard earlier had meetings at the U.S. State Department.
This would include promises to keep asylum-seekers in Mexico and crackdown on human smugglers.
USA authorities say more than 100,000 undocumented migrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, have crossed into the U.S.in recent months.
The officials described the accord's framework on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the global negotiations, but they expressed optimism that the deal was attainable.
At one point Wednesday, White House officials downplayed expectations for the day's meeting.
'They have to step up, ' Trump said, as he is seeking to pressure Mexico to crack down on immigration from Central America, in order to reduce arrivals at the United States border. Last month, US authorities made more than 144,000 arrests along the southern border, the highest level in 13 years.
Trump said Republicans would be "foolish" to try to stop him from imposing the tariffs.
The U.S., however, has not proposed any concrete benchmarks or metrics to assess whether the U.S. ally is sufficiently stemming the migrant flow from Central America.
"Something pretty dramatic could happen", he said, referring to the talks with Mexican diplomats, which continued Thursday in Washington.
With Trump on a trip to Europe until Friday night, a quick agreement in the US-Mexico talks is not anticipated by the US side, however. "And I mean it, too". Trump has said the tariffs will be enacted on Monday.
Trump spoke before leaving Shannon, Ireland, for Normandy, France, where he took part in ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings that helped turn the tide of World War II. "If he enacts those tariffs, they're not going to be overridden".
"The president's proposed tariffs would hurt American workers, businesses, and consumers".
Mexico sends almost 80 percent of its exports to the United States.
Trump last month announced a 5% tariff on all imports from Mexico unless the country takes "decisive measures" - as judged by his administration - to stem migrants entering the U.S. He said the tariffs would begin June 10 and scale up incrementally until they reach 25% on October 1.
President Trump tweeted on Thursday that if no agreements are reached the tariffs will start at five per cent on 10 June with monthly increases. But the Mexican government's proposed remedies were "not almost enough", he said. "He will use it because it's part of his negotiation tactics", said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington.
In May, U.S. border agents detained roughly 144,000 people trying to enter the country without authorization - nearly three times the figure from the same month one year ago.
"We are going to continue talks this afternoon".
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador meanwhile announced he would travel to the border city of Tijuana Saturday for what he described as a "unity rally to defend Mexico's dignity and promote our friendship with the people of the United States".
Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the US Senate Finance Committee, predicted that the United States and Mexico would strike a deal to avert the tariffs. "We want to act with great prudence, but at the same time with firmness in the defense of our sovereignty". But Trump's threats have already done damage in ways that might not be immediately obvious. But he has since emphasized his interest in maintaining a warm relationship with Trump. The first of those new trade deals to emerge is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which has yet to pass Congress.
As Trump pushes ahead, business leaders and members of his own party are scrambling to head off the imposition of new tariffs that would likely result in retaliatory measures by Mexico targeting American farmers and manufacturers.