WASHINGTON (NBC News) — President Donald Trump dropped his threat of tariffs against Mexican goods on Friday, announcing via Twitter that he had reached a deal with Mexico to stem immigration through the southern border.
He did not reveal any details of the deal, saying they would be released by the State Department shortly.
“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico,” he tweeted. “The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended.”
He said Mexico had agreed to “strong measures” to stem the tide of immigrants through the country on their way to the U.S.
In order for the 5 percent tariffs to have gone into effect June 10, Trump would have had to sign an executive order directing them to do so on Friday, a White House official confirmed to NBC News.
Trump had been under intense pressure from business leaders and members of his own party to suspend the tariffs, which economists warned could have raised prices on thousands of goods imported from Mexico. Momentum had been growing among Republicans in the Senate to override any emergency declaration Trump might sign implementing the tariffs, which he said a few days ago would have grown every few weeks until they reached 25 percent.
Trump announced that he would impose the tariff last week, and that it would “gradually increase” until “Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”
The agreement came after the two sides met for a third straight day on Friday. An unexpectedly low growth in the May jobs numbers, announced Friday morning, may have increased pressure on the White House not to add any more hurdles to the economy.
A White House official told NBC News after negotiations Thursday that Mexico seemed willing to entertain a number of proposals that the White House had put on the table Wednesday.
Those proposals include putting 6,000 Mexican national guards at the border region with Guatemala, and the possibility of a “safe third country” designation. That would include a provision requiring Central Americans to seek refuge in the first foreign country they enter.
The Washington Post reported that such a plan would mean the U.S. would deport Guatemalan asylum-seekers to Mexico, and Honduran and Salvadoran applicants to Guatemala.
Mexico had initially said a “safe third country” designation would be a red line.
The White House said Mexican officials were also considering a proposal for “Migration Protection Protocols,” which would require migrants seeking to come into the United States to stay in Mexico until their cases are processed.
According to a White House official, negotiations were conducted between lawyers for both countries, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, told Fox News that Cipollone was going “to try to hammer out some more details.”
Short told reporters outside the White House that Mexico’s first proposals on Wednesday had been “insufficient,” but that the administration had been encouraged by how talks have proceeded since then.