By Luis Gómez Romero,
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is celebrating an agreement avoiding U.S. tariffs as a major political and diplomatic triumph for his government.
“We didn’t win everything, but we were able to claim a victory with there being no tariffs,” said chief negotiator Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign affairs secretary, on June 9.
The two neighbors have been at odds since United States President Donald Trump on May 30 threatened to hit all Mexican imports with steadily rising tariffs unless Mexico successfully halted the northward flow of Central American migrants fleeing extreme poverty and violence through Mexico toward the United States.
Approximately 80% of Mexican exports are destined for the United States. Tariffs would have devastated Mexico’s economy.
To keep its goods untaxed, Mexico had to convince President Trump that it was serious about stopping migration. After a week of frantic negotiations, Mexico said it would deploy up to 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border with Guatemala to stop migrants from entering Mexico.
As part of the agreement, a Trump administration program known as “Remain in Mexico,” which forces some migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed in the U.S., will also be expanded.