WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump threatened to make Mexican immigration control a condition of a new NAFTA agreement on Monday, saying the southern U.S. neighbor must stop illegal immigrants from getting into the United States.
“Mexico, whose laws on immigration are very tough, must stop people from going through Mexico and into the U.S. We may make this a condition of the new NAFTA Agreement,” Trump wrote in a Twitter post. “Our Country cannot accept what is happening!”
The U.S. president made similar threats linking NAFTA, known formally as the North American Free Trade Agreement, and immigration when a “caravan” of migrants moved through Mexico earlier this month. “They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA,” Trump wrote on Twitter on April 1.
However, discussion of immigration controls has not been a part of formal negotiations on the new NAFTA accord and talks by all accounts – including Trump’s – are progressing.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, speaking at the Hanover trade fair in Germany on Monday, said he hoped for agreement soon on a reworked NAFTA, which includes Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Nieto said differences between the parties could be overcome to revamp the 24-year-old accord, which underpins some $1.2 trillion in annual trilateral trade.
Representatives from the three nations were to meet again in Washington on Tuesday as they push to wrap up a deal.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott