Trump says Mexico ready for tariffs 'deal' as W.House sets terms

Washington (AFP) –


President Donald Trump said Wednesday he believes Mexico is ready to "make a deal" to avoid punitive tariffs as a top White House advisor laid down three steps Mexico must take to stem migration to the United States.

Trump was speaking from Ireland as Vice President Mike Pence prepared to lead bilateral talks on the threat to hit Mexico's exports with five percent tariffs starting Monday if it fails to stop the flow of migrants from Central America.

"I think they will stop it. I think they want to do something and make a deal," Trump said. "They sent their top people to try."

"I think Mexico has to step up and if they don't, the tariffs will go on, and if they go high, the companies are going to move back into the United States. It's very simple," he added.

Senior Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro laid out three conditions for Mexico to avoid the tariffs.

First, he told CNN, "They can commit to taking all the asylum seekers and then applying Mexican laws, which are much stronger than ours."

That would avoid migrants travelling to the United States, where they then request asylum.

Secondly, Navarro said, Mexico has to more strongly police its southern border with Guatemala to prevent migrants from entering.

"The southern border that Mexico has with Guatemala is only 150 miles (240 kilometers), and better yet it has both natural and artificial chokepoints where it is really easy to police," Navarro said.

He said he was certain the United States would help if Mexico City put more resources into policing its southern border.

Thirdly, he said, Mexican officials manning checkpoints on the roads that migrants take through Mexico must stop taking bribes and permitting the migrants to continue on their northward journey toward the United States.

"Those checkpoints are designed to stop the flood, but instead, it's the corruption, the government officials that make money from this human trafficking, that has to stop," he said.

"That's it, that's what we're looking for."

A delegation of top Mexican officials led by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard have been in Washington since Friday hoping to head off the tariffs Trump ordered.

Earlier last week Trump vowed to impose five-percent tariffs on all imports from its southern neighbor from June 10, rising eventually to 25 percent unless Mexico dramatically reduces the flow of undocumented migrants.