03:29 GMT +322 August 2019
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    Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the official announcement as a candidate for national elections, in Mexico City

    Mexican President Hints at Tightening Migration Controls to Defuse US Trade Row

    © AFP 2019 / Pedro Pardo
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    Mexico's president on Saturday hinted his country could tighten migration controls to deal with US President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, while saying that he expected "good results" from talks planned in Washington next week.

    In a news conference in the Gulf of Mexico port of Veracruz, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico could be ready to step up measures to contain a recent surge in migration in order to reach a deal with the United States, Reuters reported. Lopez Obrador said he expected "good results," including a deal from the talks where the Mexican delegation is led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

    "The main thing is to inform about what we're already doing on the migration issue, and if it's necessary to reinforce these measures without violating human rights, we could be prepared to reach that deal," Lopez Obrador said.

    His comments follow those of deputy foreign minister for North America Jesus Seade, who told Reuters on Friday that Mexico wanted to sharpen existing measures to curb the flow of Central Americans trying to reach the US.

    Lopez Obrador also said Mexico would not pursue trade wars with the United States, but noted that his government had a "plan" in case Trump did apply the tariffs.

    "We're doing all we can to reach a deal through dialogue. We're not going to get into a trade war, a war of tariffs and of taxes," he said.

    The Mexican President didn’t answer the question as to whether he would allow Mexico to become a so-called safe third country, which would allow US authorities to send migrants back to Mexico and make them apply for asylum there. Following earlier arrangements, US authorities since January have begun sending migrants back to Mexico to wait there while their US asylum claims are being processed.

    Trump declared an ultimatum saying that he will apply the tariffs on June 10 if Mexico does not halt the flow of illegal immigration, largely from Central America, across the US-Mexican border. The plan would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican imports starting on June 10 and increase monthly, up to 25% on 1 October.

    READ MORE: Mexico, US to Hold Tariff Talks on Wednesday – Foreign Minister

    The decision hit Mexican financial assets and global stocks, yet met resistance from US business leaders and lawmakers worried about the impact of targeting one of the United States' top trade partners.

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    migrants, migration, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico, United States
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