Mexico Asks For Dialogue After Trump's Threat On Tariffs

By Rodrigo Cervantes
Published: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 5:03pm
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MEXICO CITY — President Donald Trump is pushing Mexico to stop Central American immigrants from arriving to the border by threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican imports. And the Mexican president is calling for dialogue, while sending a committee to Washington. 

In a letter addressed to Trump, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that tariffs are not the answer, and that the Mexican people will no longer migrate to the U.S. He also hopes the delegation, leaded by foreign affairs secretary Marcelo Ebrard, will ease tensions.

But for Arlene Ramírez, a foreign affairs analyst in Mexico City, the bilateral conflict happens at a convenient moment for both presidents’ popularity, as local elections and congressional elections approach.

“It is not necessarily a letter that is addressed from one head of a state to another. They knew this was going to happen already,” Ramírez said.

Ramírez said the presidents are mixing into one political issue two different relevant topics — immigration and trade — which only adds to the already existing trade conflicts with products like tomatoes and avocados.

“This looks more like a political agreement than a trade negotiation. The commercial relation between Mexico and the United States is damaged already,” Ramírez said.

The analyst said that Trump’s tariffs would negatively affect the Mexican economy but also the American middle class.

“Trump is putting Mexico and Canada against the ropes, but he forgets that he is also damaging the middle class not only with imported goods, but also the manufacturing process,” the analyst said.

Ramírez considered the Mexican government needs to claim compensatory tariffs while taking advantage of other international trade agreements.

“It’s very sad to see that a longtime relationship is becoming so unstable and confronted,” Ramírez said.