Threatened tariffs against Mexican imports "may not have" to go into effect next week because the Trump administration has gotten Mexico's attention about curbing illegal immigration, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Wednesday.
"Vice President [Mike] Pence will be meeting with them [Wednesday], Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo, and Amb. Robert Lighthizer," Navarro told CNN's Jim Sciutto. "I think let's stay calm and look at the chessboard here. We have to solve this crisis."
There are three things Mexico can do to avoid the tariffs, Navarro said:
- Commit to taking all asylum seekers and applying Mexican laws.
- Further policing of the much-smaller Guatemala border.
- Eliminate corruption at the nation's many checkpoints.
"If Mexico could just pass the tariffs on, they wouldn't protest them," Navarro said. "Here is the reality, America is really bearing the costs of both the China economic aggression that is stealing our intellectual property to the tune of several hundred billion dollars a year and in the Mexican case, look, Jim, we have a crisis here, national emergency of unprecedented proportions."
The "real argument," he added, should be about the costs that illegal immigration impresses on the United States and "neither Congress or the Mexican government lifted a finger to do anything about it."
The talks come as Republican senators say they oppose the tariff plan, but Navarro said he thinks the starting point has to be about the "conveyor belt' in Mexico from its southern border with Guatemala to the U.S. border.
"We've got over 100,000 illegal immigrants at any given day now, moving up on that conveyor belt," Navarro said. "This illegal immigration imposes billions of dollars of costs on the American economy and society . . . I think every American understands that this is an emergency and a surge."
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