On Wednesday, Mexican officials will meet with Vice President Mike Pence in a last-chance effort to stop the Trump administration from imposing new tariffs on the country — an decision which remains controversial on both sides of the political aisle.
Last week, President Donald Trump announced a plan to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, in an effort to convince the country to quash the flow of migrants illegally crossing the southern U.S. border.
On Tuesday, during his state visit in London, Trump doubled down on the proposed tariffs, not leaving much chance that the two sides can come to a resolution via his remarks. “It’s more likely that the tariffs go on,” Trump said, according to The Hill.
The last-minute meeting was important enough to prompt Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to depart from Trump’s U.K. visit in order to fly back to Washington. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is expected to also be in attendance of the planned meeting.
Ebrard will reportedly argue that his country has already taken appropriate measures to suppress the flow of migrants from crossing into the U.S., and has taken extra steps to increase the number of migrants they detain within the borders of Mexico.
“What Mexico must do and we are doing is to prepare, and we have our strategy on how to coexist with what sometimes can be unpredictable,” Ebrard said.
“We can’t guarantee that in the future there won’t be another sort of differences with the United States but we have to be prepared to manage them.”
Another pitfall for Mexican officials is that the Trump administration hasn’t laid out exact actions the country can take to avoid tariffs, presumably causing even more frustration. The only hint as to the administration’s desires came from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who said that the administration expects a “vast reduction” in migrant crossings. This could be achieved, per McAleenan’s remarks, by Mexico increasing the security of their own borders, and by Mexico sharing intelligence with the United States.
U.S.-Mexico trade talks to be held at White House on Wednesday, chaired by Pence, spokesman says pic.twitter.com/5s6L9Qvrkw— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 4, 2019
Mexican politicians aren’t the only ones in opposition to Trump’s tariff tactics. A number of Republican senators have also expressed their displeasure with the plan, arguing that new taxes on American consumers are not something the party typically stands behind.
“Listen, Republicans don’t like taxes on American consumers, what tariffs are,” Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters on Wednesday.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the central bank is watching the situation, as the tariffs could damage a strong, growing American economy. He also pointed out that slashing interest rates — in a damage-control capacity — isn’t out of the question.