June 10, 2019

United States And Mexico Reach Agreement To Avoid Tariffs

As Connecting the Dots reported last week, President Donald Trump threatened to place tariffs on all imports from Mexico unless the country takes substantial measures to stem the tide of undocumented immigration over the nations’ shared border. Representatives from the two countries engaged in talks last week to avoid the penalties and, late last Friday, announced an agreement that would “indefinitely suspend” the tariffs.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry had announced earlier in the day that it would send 6,000 troops from its newly formed National Guard to the country’s southern border with Guatemala. The deal, as The New York Times explains, also includes previously-negotiated measures. Mexico also reportedly will increase efforts to fight against smugglers by cracking down on their routes.

The deal came amid significant opposition to the proposed tariffs by Republicans on Capitol Hill. According to Bloomberg, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). reportedly told Trump administration officials that the president should hold off on implementing any tariffs until he can personally make his case for them to lawmakers. Republican senators also told the White House that, if forced, they could probably generate a veto-proof majority to block the tariffs. With the threat gone, officials hope Congress now can tackle the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which is supposed to replace NAFTA.

That pact, however, faces headwinds in the U.S. Congress from Democratic lawmakers. According to Politico, House Democrats met last week to discuss measures Mexico needs to take “to establish the institutions and other mechanisms needed to implement the reforms on paper in the recently passed labor law.”

The 101-member New Democrat Coalition, meanwhile, released its “NAFTA 2.0 Priorities,” which, as Politico notes provide “a marker for what the administration will have to do to earn the support of moderate, trade supportive Democrats who will be vital for passage of the USMCA.”