Late Friday night, President Donald Trump said over two tweets late Friday: I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to….stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you!”
The more official U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration, released by the U.S. Department of State on Friday night, said Mexico will take “unprecedented steps” to curb the migration problem that sparked Trump’s threat of 5 percent tariffs on all products on Mexico, which were supposed to escalate by an additional 5 percent monthly until they reached 25 percent if both sides couldn’t come to an agreement.
But Friday’s compromise saw Mexico promising to “dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations” and agreeing to strengthen bilateral cooperation with the U.S., including sharing information that could further shore up the countries’ common border.
On Saturday morning, Trump also said via Twitter, “Mexico has agreed to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers!”
Had the tariffs in fact been implemented on Monday as scheduled, the effect could have proved a further hit to domestic competitiveness.
Ahead of this week’s negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) sent a letter to the president outlining the ramifications his actions would invite.
“Every day, we export U.S. yarns and fabrics to Mexico, where they are assembled into garments and incorporated into other products to be imported back into the United States. There has been significant investment in U.S. production, design, distribution, and retail for this industry to support these critical supply chains. An army of U.S. workers—cotton farmers, yarn spinners, fabric weavers, truck drivers, designers, textile scientists, software engineers, logistics experts, compliance professionals, customs brokers, sales clerks, and more—depends on Mexico’s duty-free access to the U.S. market for their jobs,” the letter noted.
While a new tariff crisis seems to have been averted, at least “indefinitely,” if things don’t pan out as outlined in the new deal, the U.S. and Mexico jointly said they agree to “take further actions.” Though there’s little more on what those actions would be, failure on Mexico’s part to keep its word to Trump on migration could see the unwanted tariffs resurface.