NIn the afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence had sung the praises of North American free trade. The three US states would benefit from the new USMCA agreement, with which the governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada want to replace President Donald Trump's abhorrent Nafta agreement, Pence promised in Ottawa on Thursday. He thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for having already submitted the Trade Pact to his parliament for ratification. In mid-May, Trump had met the condition of Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and exempted the two neighboring countries from the steel and aluminum tariffs; Mexico and Canada, for their part, retaliated. Responding to criticism from the Democrats in Washington, Pence vowed that the Trump administration would go ahead and push for ratification in the US Congress as soon as possible.
Did Pence know what Trump was up to? The president actually made a fuss, but his train took a different direction. The United States, he announced this evening, would impose punitive tariffs on all imports from Mexico unless the country stops the flow of Central American migrants north. A five-percent duty is due in the next week and then increased in several steps, up to 25 percent from October – if Mexico does not act quickly to curb the state of emergency on the US-Mexico border.
Claims remain vague
What Mexico should do, said the acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan only vague: better protect its southern border, especially to Guatemala, act against human smugglers and cooperate more closely with the United States asylum policy. By contrast, McAleenan explained in detail how the situation on the US Southwest border has undoubtedly developed into a state of emergency that "overwhelmed" border patrols. According to the report, about 4500 people cross the border every day illegally or face border crossings "without papers" to apply for asylum. On Wednesday, "a single group of 1036 families and unaccompanied children" just ran from the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez to Texas – "the largest group ever arrested at the border." Because Trump is cracking down, there are 80,000 illegal immigrants in US custody, including 2,350 minors who arrived without their parents. "400 children have arrived alone in the past 24 hours," said McAleenan; two children drowned in the border river, two died from infections.
Because of these conditions, Trump sees himself as entitled to impose customs duties on the basis of a national emergency, even if the legal basis used for this purpose has never been used in this way. This has nothing to do with the new free trade agreement, assures the White House. And that tariffs on Mexican imports, above all, make products more expensive for American consumers, the Trump government does not apply. After all, mass immigration is also costing American citizens dearly. In any case, one is confident that Mexico will take concrete steps very quickly. Trump emphasized in his statement that America alone decides which step would be big enough to justify customs relief.
. (tagsToTranslate) Donald Trump (t) Andrés Manuel López Obrador (t) Mike Pence (t) Kevin Mcaleenan (t) Justin Trudeau (t) Congress (t) Full steam