Minister: Mexico has ‘dignity intact’ after US tariff deal

Christopher Sherman
Associated Press
Supporters of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wait for his arrival at a rally in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, June 8, 2019.

Tijuana, Mexico – Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told a cheering crowd near the U.S. border on Saturday that his country emerged from high-stakes talks over U.S. tariffs with its “dignity intact.”

The rally in Tijuana, a short walk from the border, was originally scheduled as an act of solidarity in the face of President Donald Trump’s threat to impose a 5% tariff on Mexico’s exports if it did not stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing its territory toward the U.S. The tariff threat had brought opposition from within Trump’s own party for the economic disruption it would have caused.

But after Mexican and U.S. officials reached an accord late Friday that calls on Mexico to crackdown on migrants in exchange for Trump backing off his threat, officials here converted the rally into a celebration.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaksduring a rally in Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, June 8, 2019.

Ebrard, who helped negotiate the deal in Washington D.C., said when he arrived back home and gave the president his report, he told López Obrador: “There are no tariffs, Mr. President, we emerged with our dignity intact.”

Speaking about the migrants, Ebrard said, “while they are in Mexico, we are going to be in solidarity with them.”

A series of speakers at the boisterous, government-organized gathering, spoke of the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and applauded Mexico’s negotiating team. The rally had the feeling of a campaign event with lots of paraphernalia from López Obrador’s ruling Morena party.

Tijuana residents at the rally said they supported the terms of the agreement. But residents just a block away expressed concern the deal could mean more asylum seekers having to wait in Tijuana and other Mexican border cities for the resolution of their cases in the U.S. That process can take months or even years.