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Mexican president says confident that US will negotiate on tariffs

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Mexico City (AFP)

Mexico's president said Saturday he thinks US officials are prepared to negotiate on President Donald Trump's threat to use tariffs as a tool to fight illegal migration across the border.

"There is willingness on the part of US government officials to establish dialogue and reach agreements and compromises," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a news conference.

He did not say what gave him reason to believe this.

Lopez Obrador said a Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard will meet Wednesday in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the surprise tariff announcement Trump made on Thursday.

The US president said tariffs starting at five percent and gradually increasing to 25 percent will be applied to all Mexican imports beginning June 10, unless the Mexican government does more to halt the flow of undocumented migrants crossing into the US.

The Mexican government has already contacted Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and also an adviser to him, and Pompeo, Lopez Obrador said.

"The results are going to be good because there is an atmosphere that is favorable to dialogue both in this country and in the United States," he said.

Lopez Obrador expressed confidence that the tariffs will not in the end go into force.

"It is in everyone's interest to reach an agreement," he said.

Trump's announcement spooked financial markets around the world and raised fears of US trade wars on multiple fronts.

Lopez Obrador said Friday that his country was "doing our job" to stop the flow of undocumented migrants to the United States, and warned Trump that hitting his neighbor with tariffs would be a lose-lose game.

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