Watch CBS News

Mexican foreign minister is optimistic about avoiding tariffs

How Mexico tariffs could affect your wallet
Mexico tariffs could raise average price of American car by $1,500 03:25

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter that there is an "80/20" chance that he will be able to make a deal with U.S. officials to avoid a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods announced by President Trump last week.

"From Washington I can report that we have made progress during meetings with cabinet members, private think tanks, specialists. We are working hard to reach an understanding. It's doable and desirable. 80/20 chances in favor of doing it," Ebrard wrote, in a tweet that has been translated from Spanish.

Ebrard arrived in Washington at the end of the last week to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday. Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday. However, Mr. Trump is notably not present at these talks.

"Mexico is sending a big delegation to talk about the Border," Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday. "Problem is, they've been 'talking' for 25 years. We want action, not talk." 

Mr. Trump also told reporters on Tuesday that the U.S. and Mexico would likely continue to negotiate even after the tariffs take effect next week.

Mr. Trump announced the new tariffs last week in retaliation for what he says is a failure by the Mexican government to curb an unprecedented flow of Central American families heading toward the U.S. In a statement from the White House on Thursday evening, Mr. Trump said a 5% tariff on imports would take effect June 10 and increase five percentage points every first of the month until October, when the levy would reach 25%.

However, congressional Democrats and Republicans alike have warned that the imposition of tariffs could hinder the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana called the tariffs a "mistake" on Sunday and thinks it's unlikely Mr. Trump will impose them. The president "has been known to play with fire, but not live hand grenades," Kennedy said on "Face the Nation."
"It's going to tank the American economy," he said. "I don't think the president's going to impose these tariffs."

Some Republicans have said that they aren't ready to pass a resolution of disapproval, however.

"There's some disagreement even among Republicans whether a resolution of disapproval would be appropriate in this case," Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa told reporters Tuesday.

"I'm not positive it's appropriate for us to take that step yet," Kennedy told reporters Tuesday. "My experience is the president is a very smart man, he also doesn't mind taking a risk. He's not exactly risk adverse. He's been known to play with fire but not live hand grenades."

If the tariffs are imposed, U.S. consumers could see prices rise on a range of products, including automobiles, beer and tequila, electronics, and produce like avocados and tomatoes. 

Mr. Trump has been known to make threats and then back down, such as his frequent threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.