Wednesday 16 October 2019

US warns Mexico of 5pc imports tariff deadline

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. Photo: Reuters
Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. Photo: Reuters

Makini Brice and Anthony Esposito

The United States pushed ahead yesterday with a plan to slap a 5pc tariff on imports from Mexico as the two sides started a third day of talks to reach a deal to stem the flow of migrants into the US.

U. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose the levies starting on Monday if Mexico does not tackle the migration problem.

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"If we are unable to make the deal, Mexico will begin paying tariffs at the 5pc level on Monday!" Trump said in a tweet after he concluded his visit to Ireland.

Mexico, whose economy is heavily dependent on trade with the United States, is scrambling to avoid such a scenario.

"It's a good sign that talks have not broken down," Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, inset, told reporters in Mexico City.

"There is dialogue and an agreement can be reached. I'm optimistic we can achieve that."

Lopez Obrador, however, said it was a mistake for the United States to link migration with trade.

Mexico has prepared a list of possible retaliatory tariffs targeting US products from agricultural and industrial states regarded as Trump's electoral base, a tactic China also has used with an eye toward the president's 2020 re-election bid.

Such a move would leave the United States fighting trade wars with two of its three largest trading partners and further unnerve financial markets already nervous about a global economic slowdown.

The United States slapped up to 25pc tariffs on $200bn (€176bn) in Chinese imports last month, prompting Beijing to levy its own tariffs on a revised target list of $60bn in American goods. US officials officially granted Chinese exporters two more weeks to get their products into the United States before the higher tariffs were applied, according to a US government notice posted online yesterday.

Mr rump says he will decide soon whether to carry out his threat to hit Beijing with tariffs on an additional list of $300bn in Chinese goods.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States yesterday of "unbridled economic egoism" and said Washington's tactics would lead to trade wars and "maybe not just trade wars".

Reuters

Irish Independent

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