The Latest: Mexican leader warns against 'coercive measures'
WASHINGTON -- The Latest on President Donald Trump's announcement on new tariffs for Mexican imports in response to heavy flow of migrants (all times local):
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says his foreign relations secretary will lead a delegation to seek a peaceful and negotiated solution to U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to impose stiff tariffs on goods from Mexico if the country doesn't do more to slow irregular migration.
López Obrador said late Thursday in a public letter addressed to Trump that "social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures," and alluded to the United States' history as a nation of immigrants: "The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol."
López Obrador wrote that Mexico is doing its part to avoid migration through its territory as much as possible, without violating human rights.
The Mexican leader also urged Trump to "please, remember that I do not lack valor, that I am not a coward nor timorous but rather act according to principles."
The Republican head of a key Senate committee says that President Donald Trump's proposal to use new tariffs on Mexican goods to pressure Mexico to slow the flow of migrants to the border is a flawed strategy.
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa said late Thursday: "Trade policy and border security are separate issues."
Grassley, whose committee would deal with a proposed trade agreement involving Mexico, said: "This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent." He said the proposal "would seriously jeopardize passage" of a new trade deal involving Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.
He urged the president to consider other options.
The Mexican undersecretary for North America is calling new tariffs on Mexican goods announced by U.S. President Donald Trump a matter that is "most serious."
Jesus Seade (say-AH'-day), the trade negotiator for Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrader, said Thursday in a news conference that if the tariffs come to pass, "we should respond in a forceful way." But he said right now that it is important to find out whether these tariffs are "really on the table."
He says if Trump is serious, the move is bad for "two countries that are trying to arrive at a marvelous free trade treaty, the best in history, according to President Trump."
Seade lobbied for first finding find out "what is being talked about here."
President Donald Trump says he is slapping a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.
The tariff is effective June 10. The president says the percentage will gradually increase "until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied."
Trump made the announcement by tweet after telling reporters earlier Thursday that he was planning "a major statement" that would be his "biggest" so far on the border.
Trump has accused the Mexican government of failing to do enough to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants who have been flowing to the U.S in search of asylum from countries including El Salvador, Honduras and Gautama.
It's unclear how this will impact the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal.