U.S. and Mexican officials return to the negotiating table Friday to find a way to stem the flow of Central American migrants across the U.S. southern border that is threatening trade between the neighboring countries.
The U.S. pushed Mexico on Thursday to do more to curb the surge of Central American migrants headed north to the U.S., with President Donald Trump renewing his threat to impose a 5% tariff on imported goods from Mexico next week if no agreement is reached.
Trump's trade wars with Mexico and other countries appear to have spooked American companies into putting the brakes on hiring, as they added just 75,000 jobs in May, far fewer than the 180,000 economists expected, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Although the jobless rate held steady at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent, Friday's figures are the latest signal the U.S. economy, while healthy, is weakening. Manufacturers, which are particularly sensitive to trade disputes, added only 3,000 jobs, extending an anemic streak of hiring in the sector.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that initial talks with Mexico this week were positive, but he said the U.S. wants Mexico to increase its efforts to curb the flow of thousands of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador looking for a better life in the U.S. and an escape from poverty and violence in their homelands.
"We welcomed the efforts of the Mexican officials to offer solutions to the crisis at our southern border, but we need Mexico to do more," Pence said.
Trump, in Europe for D-Day commemorative events, said the latest talks were being held "with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule" that could push the taxes to 25 percent on an array of products by October.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard held meetings with U.S. officials at the State Department, while other negotiators from both countries met at the White House.
"We're not done yet," Ebrard said. "I think we are advancing."
The officials are discussing a deal calling for Mexico to sharply increase patrols of its border with Guatemala to curb migration, The Washington Post reported, with the deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops. The newspaper said Mexico and the U.S. could overhaul asylum rules throughout the region, requiring Central Americans to first seek refuge in Mexico rather than traveling through it to reach the U.S.
With such a plan in place, the United States could send Guatemala asylum seekers to Mexico, and those from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala.
Source : VOA