Mexican president denies friction with US


Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado speaks during a morning press conference in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, on 05 April 2019. Obrador denied that there is a 'confrontation' between his government and the United States, after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs. EFE-EPA/Francisco Guasco

MEXICO CITY.- Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador denied Friday that his government is at odds with the administration of US President Donald Trump, who is threatening to levy tariffs on Mexican imports if the Aztec nation doesn’t do more to stop the flow of drugs and undocumented migrants.

«Our relationship is good, we do not have a confrontation with the United States government, there is financial stability and that is what the data shows,» Lopez Obrador told a press conference in the western city of Guadalajara.

He urged both domestic and foreign investors to rest easy, given that relations with Washington are «very good» and that the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade «will be ratified.»

The USMCA is intended to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), long denounced by Trump.

«There is no problem in the economic or in the financial realms. On the contrary, we have a strong currency. The peso is strengthening as it has rarely done before and consumer confidence is stronger than ever,» Lopez Obrador said, adding that tax collections are roughly 8 billion pesos ($417 million) higher than expected.

Lopez Obrador’s reassurances about the state of ties with Washington came hours after Trump threatened to punish Mexico economically if Mexican authorities stopped deporting undocumented Central American migrants.

«Mexico, for the first time in decades, is meaningfully apprehending illegals at THEIR Southern Border, before the long march up to the US This is great and the way it should be. The big flow will stop,» Trump said in the first of a series of tweets early Friday.

Net immigration of Mexicans to the US fell to zero several years ago. Today’s northbound migrants come overwhelmingly from the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

There are no indications that the Mexican government has changed its immigration policy in the last week.

«However, if for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the US will be forced to Tariff at 25 percent all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the Border to us. If that doesn’t work, which it will, I will close the Border,» Trump wrote.

«This will supersede USMCA. Likewise I am looking at an economic penalty for the 500 Billion Dollars in illegal DRUGS that are shipped and smuggled through Mexico and across our Southern Border. Over 100,00 Americans die each year, sooo many families destroyed!,» he concluded.

Despite the bluster, the president’s Twitter outburst marked a softening of the position he was taking as recently as Wednesday, when he repeated his threat to close the US border with Mexico immediately.

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