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Mexico eyes Brazil for U.S. asylum deal as Trump revives tariff threat
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Mexico eyes Brazil for U.S. asylum deal as Trump revives tariff threat

MEXICO CITY, June 11 ------ Mexico and the United States may explore additional steps next month to restrict illegal immigration from Central America, with the threat of tariffs hanging over Mexico if it does not do enough to satisfy U.S. demands, officials said on Monday. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Brazil, Panama, and Guatemala may need to be brought in to help if a deal unveiled last week between Washington and Mexico fails to reduce the numbers of U.S.-bound migrants crossing Mexico.

The deal struck on Friday averted import tariffs on all Mexican goods, which U.S. President Donald Trump had vowed to impose unless Mexico did more to curb migration. The Trump administration said on Monday it could still apply tariffs if it judged that Mexico had not done enough, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling reporters it expected to see results within four to six weeks. The deal cut between the two nations last week means Mexico will expand a program under which migrants applying for asylum in the United States wait out the process in Mexico. Mexico also pledged to reinforce its southern border with Guatemala with 6,000 members of its National Guard militarized police.

A major sticking point in last week’s talks was a U.S. demand that Mexico be declared a “safe third country” for asylum seekers, requiring them to seek refuge in Mexico if they passed through the country on the way to the United States. Mexico rejected that demand, though Ebrard revealed it would go back on the table if Mexico could not stem the flow of migrants heading to the U.S. border. “If we don’t have results on what we’re doing (in 45 days), we’ll start conversations on what they want, which is that Mexico will be a safe third country,” he told Mexican radio. Such a step would require the Mexican government to consult the Senate on how to proceed, Ebrard said.

Trump said on Monday afternoon Mexico would soon announce an “undisclosed portion” of the deal that would have to be taken up by the Mexican Congress. He did not offer more details. “They have to get approval, and they will get approval. If they don’t get approval, we’ll have to think in terms of tariffs or whatever,” he told reporters at the White House. U.S. stocks were higher on Monday after the deal, easing worries about the impact of another trade war on the global economy. The Mexican peso rose more than 2% against the dollar.

Source: reuters.com