Tuesday April 7th, 2020 9:11AM

Pence: US 'encouraged' by Mexico's proposals as tariffs loom

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Mexican officials claim to be making progress as they labored for a second day to avert import tariffs. But President Donald Trump is still threatening to impose them as he tries to pressure Mexico into stemming the flow of Central American migrants across the United States' southern border.

Vice President Mike Pence, monitoring the talks from his travels in Pennsylvania, said Thursday the U.S. was "encouraged" by Mexico's latest proposals but that tariffs still were set to take effect on Monday.

Pence added that it would be "for the president to decide" whether Mexico was doing enough to head off the tariffs. Pence said that, among other issues, negotiators had been discussing a potential agreement to make it difficult for those who enter Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S. Mexico has long resisted that request.

Trump has threatened to impose a 5% tax on all Mexican goods beginning Monday as part of an escalating tariff regime opposed by many in his own Republican Party.

The frantic, last-minute talks underscore Trump's chaotic approach even when decisions have enormous economic consequences for both the U.S. and its closest allies. Trump has embraced tariffs as a tool he can use as leverage against other countries, dismissing the potential harm to American consumers and manufacturers.

Traveling in Europe, Trump told reporters that negotiators had made "a lot of progress," but continued to play coy.

"We'll see what happens," Trump said in Ireland before leaving for France to attend a D-Day ceremony. "But something pretty dramatic could happen. We've told Mexico the tariffs go on. And I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it."

It remained unclear whether any deal could be struck with Trump out of the country. Many in Washington still expect the tariffs to go into effect barring a major new concession from Mexico, though lawmakers who have been in talks with both U.S. and Mexican officials said they were hopeful a deal could be reached to satisfy Trump, or at least delay the tariffs' implementation.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard spent several hours at the State Department Thursday morning, while Trump's legal counsel and other Mexican aides met at the White House Thursday afternoon.

Ebrard told reporters as he left the State Department that progress was being made and that he was likely to return following consultations at the embassy. He returned in early evening.

His spokesman, Roberto Velasco, tweeted that "Options continue to be explored."

"The stance of the United States is focused on measures of migratory control, ours on development," he said.

White House spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp said in an interview that conversations were continuing but "it looks like we're moving toward this path of tariffs because what we've seen so far is that the Mexicans, what they're proposing, is simply not enough."

Pence, who led the discussions Wednesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials, told reporters in Pennsylvania that the administration had "made it very clear that our neighbors to the south, Mexico, must do more to end the tide of illegal immigration that is besetting our southern border."

During Wednesday's talks, the gulf between the countries was clear as Mexico offered small, thus far undisclosed concessions, and the U.S. demanded major action. A senior administration official said the U.S. once again pressed Mexico to step up enforcement on its southern border and to enter into a "safe third country agreement" that would make it difficult for those who enter Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S.

But Mexico surprised U.S. officials Thursday when they returned to the negotiating table and said they would commit to what Pence had requested, according to the official, who cautioned that significant questions about timing and implementation remain.

Trump officials have said Mexico can prevent the tariffs by securing its southern border with Guatemala, cracking down on criminal smuggling organizations and overhauling its asylum system. But the U.S. has not proposed concrete metrics to assess whether Mexico is complying, and it is unclear whether even those steps would be enough to satisfy Trump on illegal immigration, a signature issue of his presidency and one that he sees as crucial to his 2020 re-election campaign.

Beyond Trump and several White House advisers, few in the administration believe imposing tariffs is a good idea, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. Those people worry about the negative economic consequences for Americans and believe the tariffs — which would likely spark retaliatory taxes on U.S. exports — would also hurt the administration politically. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Republicans in Congress have warned the White House that they are ready to stand up to the president to try to block his tariffs, which they worry would spike costs to U.S. consumers, harm the economy and imperil a major pending U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal .

Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said he will introduce a resolution of disapproval to stop the tariffs if Trump goes through with his threat, panning it as presidential "overreach."

The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants illegally crossing the border hit the highest level in more than a decade in May: 132,887 apprehensions, including a record 84,542 adults and children traveling together and 11,507 children traveling alone.


Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Paul Wiseman, Lisa Mascaro, Darlene Superville and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pence: US 'encouraged' by Mexico's proposals as tariffs loom
US and Mexican officials say they are making progress in their talks to avert the 5% tariffs on all Mexican goods that President Donald Trump has threatened to impose
6:22AM ( 8 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Navy probing claims against war college leader
Navy investigates president of U.S. Naval War College
6:06AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Spike Lee calls for Hollywood to 'shut it down' in Georgia
Director Spike Lee is calling for Hollywood production companies to leave Georgia over a law that would ban abortions as early as six weeks, upon detection of a fetal heartbeat
6:02AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US-Mexico talks continue, Trump says more progress needed
Talks between US, Mexican officials continue as Trump's 5% Mexico tariff deadline looms
4:18AM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden reverses position on Hyde abortion amendment
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is reversing course and declaring he no longer supports a long-standing congressional ban on using federal money to pay for abortions
3:12AM ( 3 hours ago )
UK's Brexit Party narrowly defeated in key electoral test
Britain's upstart Brexit Party has failed in its first attempt to win a seat in Britain's Parliament, narrowly losing to the left-of-center Labour Party in a special election.
3:04AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Teens graduating in California town nearly destroyed by fire
A Northern California town that was mostly destroyed by a wildfire is celebrating the graduation of its high school class
3:30AM ( 2 hours ago )
No-say Nissan had tech that drove Fiat Chrysler-Renault idea
Nissan wasn't consulted on the proposed merger between its alliance partner Renault and Fiat Chrysler, but the Japanese automaker's reluctance may have helped bring about the surprise collapse of the talks
3:07AM ( 3 hours ago )
Asian stocks trail US rise on US-Mexico trade deal optimism
Asian shares are mostly higher on optimism about a possible trade deal between the US and Mexico before tariffs take effect
3:01AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
US and Mexico: More talks, no deal yet to avert tariffs
U.S. and Mexican officials have failed again to reach a deal to avert import tariffs that President Donald Trump is threatening to impose
9:19PM ( 9 hours ago )
VP Pence touts trade pact benefits in Pennsylvania stop
Vice President Mike Pence has dropped in on the presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania, where he toured a robotics maker and urged Congress to pass a new trade pact with Canada and Mexico
8:04PM ( 10 hours ago )
Plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat beats forecasts in 1Q
Plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat beats analysts' forecasts in first earnings since IPO
6:34PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
APNewsBreak: Navy probing claims against war college leader
Navy investigates president of U.S. Naval War College
6:06AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Spike Lee calls for Hollywood to 'shut it down' in Georgia
Director Spike Lee is calling for Hollywood production companies to leave Georgia over a law that would ban abortions as early as six weeks, upon detection of a fetal heartbeat
6:02AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Joe Biden reverses position on federal dollars for abortions
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden says he can no longer support a congressional ban on using federal health care money to pay for abortions
5:40AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Ethiopian premier visits Sudan, trying to ease deadly crisis
Ethiopian PM in Sudan to mediate between ruling military, protest leaders amid army crackdown that's killed over 100
5:37AM ( 52 minutes ago )
The Latest: Women's tour criticizes French Open scheduling
The Latest at the French Open: The women's semifinals are starting at Roland Garros on an unusual day and at unusual courts _ and the placement of the matches away from the main stadium has been criticized by the head of the women's tennis tour
5:27AM ( 1 hour ago )