June 2, 2019 / 1:13 PM / 6 months ago

Mexico starts talks in Washington early over U.S. tariff threat

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Economy Minister Graciela Marquez reacts during the delivery of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deal at the Senate building in Mexico City, Mexico May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said on Sunday she would meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington on Monday, two days before the neighboring countries are due to discuss possible tariffs on Mexican goods.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose punitive tariffs of 5% on Mexican goods, that would gradually increase to 25%, if Mexico did not stem migration north.

Mexico’s deputy minister of foreign trade Luz Maria de la Mora later specified in a tweet that both would analyze the commercial relationship between the two countries, adding that Mexico had become the United States’ largest trade partner in early 2019.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had been optimistic that they could find a way to avoid the tariffs.

Meanwhile, Trump called Mexico an “abuser” in tweets on Sunday morning. He called for a construction of a wall along the United States’ southern border and reiterated threats of tariffs.

“Our many companies and jobs that have been foolishly allowed to move South of the Border, will be brought back into the United States through taxation (Tariffs),” Trump wrote. “America has had enough!”

Marquez and Ross met in El Salvador, where both attended the inauguration of the Central American country’s new president, Nayib Bukele, in San Salvador.

Reporting by Sharay Angulo; writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Bill Berkrot

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