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Some Progress Cited as U.S.-Mexico Talks Continue, but No Change in Tariff Deadline

June 6, 2019 (EIRNS)—Talks between a visiting Mexican delegation, led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, and State Department officials ended this early this evening without an agreement, and are scheduled to continue tomorrow, Ebrard announced. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are traveling, so the State Department handled the talks today, which also included the White House counsel.

A senior White House official cited by the Wall Street Journal reported today that significant progress had been made in the negotiations, although apparently not enough to avert the imposition June 10 of a 5% tariff on Mexican exports to the U.S. This unnamed source said the Trump Administration is encouraged by steps Mexico has agreed to so far, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement this afternoon saying that “the U.S. position has not changed and we are still moving forward with tariffs at this time.”

Speaking from Pennsylvania, Vice President Pence confirmed that message, Bloomberg reported. He also said he was encouraged by the talks, but that “more” had to be done to prevent the 5% tariff from being imposed next Monday.

Mexico reportedly presented a plan to intensify enforcement actions on its southern border with Guatemala, with increased troop deployments, as well as stronger drug-interdiction action. The López Obrador government is resisting U.S. pressure to be designated a “safe third country,” which means that immigrants entering Mexico from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala, would not be able to claim asylum in the U.S. Among other demands, the U.S. also wants tougher enforcement of the “remain in Mexico” policy, whereby migrants are encouraged to stay in that country, and take advantage of the government’s offer to provide jobs training, work permits, etc.

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