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  • Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard speaks during a news conference along the government delegation, at the Mexican Embassy in Washington.

    Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard speaks during a news conference along the government delegation, at the Mexican Embassy in Washington. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 June 2019

Mexico's Foreign Minister categorically rejected the possibility that Mexico would subscribe to a safe third country asylum pact with the U.S.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard warned on Monday that United States (U.S.) President Donald Trump’s threat to impose punitive five percent tariffs on all Mexican goods would be “counterproductive” and could worsen overall migration from Central America.

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Trump's tariffs, added to the elimination of aid to Central American nations, might "cause financial and economic instability, which means that Mexico could reduce its capacity to address migration flows and to offer alternatives to the new migrants who have recently arrived in the country," Ebrard told reporters at the Mexican embassy in Washington.

On May 30, Trump tweeted that he will apply five percent tariffs on Mexican goods starting on June 10 if Mexico does not halt the flow of migration, mainly originating from Central America en route to the U.S.-Mexican border. 

The U.S. president later said that tariffs will gradually rise to 25 percent if Mexico does not comply with the demands. If applied these measures would cause major damage to Mexico’s economy, as about 80 percent of its exports are directed to the U.S.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Saturday hinted his government could agree to tighten migration controls to defuse Trump's threat and said he expected "good results" from the talks in Washington that begin on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Mexican Foreign Minister reported that from December 2018 to May 2019 about 80,000 people have been arrested and deported to their countries of origin, adding that in the first five months of this year, 24,451 people requested refuge in Mexico. "If current trends continue, that number can reach more than 60,000 by the end of 2019," the official affirmed.

However, Ebrard categorically rejected the possibility that Mexico would subscribe to a safe third country asylum pact with the U.S.

Under this sort of agreement, migrants would be required to seek asylum in Mexico if they want to reach the U.S., Canada struck a pact of those characteristics back in 2002.

“The limit of the negotiations that we can allow is set by the constitution, by the immigration policy that we subscribed to in Marrakech and the dignity of Mexico," the Foreign Minister concluded in the presence of his country’s Economy and Agriculture Ministers, along with a government delegation as they ready themselves for bilateral talks. 

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