Trump: 'Something Pretty Dramatic Could Happen' in Coming Days Re: Mexico

Posted on 06/06/2019 8:17 AM

Note: This dispatch could be updated as additional information surfaces.

— Trump today said "something pretty dramatic could happen" in the coming days as the administration resumes talks later today with Mexican government officials over migrant flows and possible escalating tariffs.
     Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said this morning that Mexico’s delegation had presented a plan to address immigration issues to their counterparts in Washington, and said he was optimistic a deal would be struck to avoid the tariffs. Staff level meetings with Mexican officials are slated to continue this afternoon at the White House, a White House official said. Trump remains in Europe until Friday, and Vice President Mike Pence is attending events in Virginia and Pennsylvania today.
     Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has called on Mexico to block more migrants at its southern border with Guatemala, step up efforts against organized smuggling operations, and sign a pact to designate it a “safe third country.” Such an agreement would mean people who enter Mexico from the so-called Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — wouldn’t be eligible to claim asylum in the U.S.

— Trump told he must give time for public comment before any new tariffs on Mexico take effect. With a major tariff impact decision ahead, Trump administration officials have been notified that a call for public comment must come before any such tariffs take effect. But Trump and others are reportedly pushing back on that assessment. Trump initially indicated that unless a resolution is found on migrant issues, June 10 would be the first day of 5% tariffs, rising by a similar amount each month until they are 25% by October unless an agreement is reached.

— The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in April, as both imports and exports decreased at the start of the second quarter. The foreign-trade gap in goods and services contracted 2.1% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $50.79 billion in April, the Commerce Department said today. That was in line with expectations. Both exports and imports fell in April. Imports decreased 2.2% in April to $257.638 billion. Exports also fell by 2.2%, to $206.847 billion. That marked the largest month-over-month drop in exports since January 2016. The trade deficit in goods with China widened 7.6% on the month in April to a seasonally adjusted $29.41 billion, while the trade deficit in goods with Mexico narrowed 6.4% from the prior month. In April, outbound shipments of soybeans fell by 0.3% to $1.765 billion.

— Trump to Iowa next Tuesday; Perdue to join. Trump will tour Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy on Tuesday, June 11, and give remarks on the year-round E15 announcement and his administration's farm policies, the White House said Tuesday. Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds says she expects to talk with President Donald Trump during his visit to Iowa next Tuesday and tell him the state will need more flood recovery help from the federal government. Reynolds said she will tell the president his newly announced tariffs on Mexico aren't helpful but that she will thank him for making a 15% ethanol/gasoline mixture available year-round and for approving Iowa flood disaster aid quickly. Trump is expected to visit an ethanol production plant in Council Bluffs and attend private Republican Party fundraiser in West Des Moines.
     Meanwhile, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, caught up in a trade aid issue that he caused himself, said he will have a decision “sooner rather than later” — maybe by Friday or maybe next week in Iowa with the president — on whether unplanted cropland will be eligible for Trump tariff payments this year (or some other creative USDA approach to the issue, according to some government sources). USDA initially said unplanted land would not be eligible for the up to $14.5 billion in trade-mitigation payments, but the huge amount of flooded land in the Midwest prompted a second Perdue look at the question, despite lawyers initially telling him the MPF 2 package could not be tapped for such payouts. “I believe people deserve an answer sooner rather than later, so we hoped to have that within a few days for people,” Perdue said on Wednesday, according to a USDA transcript of remarks. Asked if an announcement would be made by Friday, Perdue replied, “Possibly … I was planning on doing it this Friday but it could be next week.”


— Regarding additional U.S. tariffs on China, President Trump said he likely will decide after a G20 summit in Japan on July 28-29 whether he will slap tariffs on an additional $300-$325 billion worth of Chinese goods amid stalled trade talks.


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