Mexican President Andres Lopez-Obrador on Wednesday thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for his “willingness to dialogue” after Washington acknowledged Mexico’s efforts to curb migration and the threat of punitive tariffs appeared to fade.
A meeting in Washington on Tuesday between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard had been “very successful,” Lopez-Obrador said at his daily news conference.
He said he was grateful for Trump’s “willingness to dialogue and his will for there to be an understanding on the subject of migration and on what has to do with trade relations.”
Trump tweeted after the meeting that “incredible progress” had been made since Mexico agreed in June to reduce the number of Central American migrants crossing its territory to the U.S.
Washington had threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican imports. Mexico was given 90 days to show progress.
Mexico subsequently deployed 25,000 troops on its northern and southern borders.
The number of migrants apprehended by U.S. law enforcement decreased to 64,000 people in August from 144,000 people in May, according to U.S. data.
However, Pence and Ebrard agreed that “more work remains’’ to be done, according to Pence’s office.
The possibility of new punitive tariffs was not discussed at the meeting, Ebrard said afterwards, because the reduction in the number of migrants was now “a permanent trend.”
Lopez-Obrador urged the U.S. and Canada to ratify the new free trade deal between them and Mexico, which will replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The deal, which was signed in November, has been ratified only by Mexico.
The two other countries should also ratify it before Canada holds federal elections in October and Trump seeks re-election next year, Lopez Obrador said.
“Hopefully it is done soon because, since there are electoral processes coming up, we don’t want this matter to get entangled in the natural disagreements that occur when there are elections,” he said.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide