Eric Baradat / AFP / Getty Images
The Mexican government behind the scenes is a trumpet that is prepared to conflict.
The Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo is a counterproductive government and would not decrease immigration.
Publicly, they are saying, "They want to break the supply chain," but they are familiar with the talks.
The behind-the-scenes talks are part of a more public push led Mexican officials who are warning their counterparts of disastrous consequences if President Trump carries out threats to imposed 5% tariffs on June 10 as so-called punishment for not curbing migration flows, according to two sources
"They're going to have to delicately balance inflamations tensions even further, as well as the Mexican economy," said a former White House official familiar with the conversations. "You can't just roll over and play dead if you're verbally attacked like this by a foreign government's president. That doesn't play well, domestically."
Mexico's President Andres Manuel López Obrador sent Ebrard as well as Mexico's economy minister, Graciela Márquez, and agriculture minister Victor Villalobos to Washington in search of a solution to avert the tariff battle.
On Monday, Mexican officials said Márquez was expected to meet Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Villalobos met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Mike Pompeo on Wednesday is expected to meet with Secretary of State.
Some Republicans in key states that rely on trade relationship with Mexico are warning Trump that he risks hurting U.S. interests.
"It is important to remember all the actions that we have to secure our southern border must keep in mind the important role that Mexico plays in the United States economy," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "My state enjoys a strong relationship economically with Mexico because of that 1,200-mile common border."
The Mexico team argues the best way to combat immigration is to invest in Central America, but the Trump administration wants Mexico to take stronger steps along its Southern border, dismantle human smuggling chains and improve coordination on asylum.
The relationship between the United States and Mexico goes well beyond immigration.
Mexico is the U.S.'s third-largest trading partner. The two countries collaborate on everything from drug trafficking to human trafficking. The United States has invested more than $ 2 billion through the Merida security initiative, and the Mexican government, after decades of hostility, is now allowing U.S. investment in its oil industry.
During a press conference Monday, Márquez expressed confidence in finding a diplomatic solution, but said they are evaluating the proper response if Trump carries out the tariffs.
"I can't say that we're going to do the same [tariffs], because we have to make strategic plans to take account of commercial relationships," Márquez said in Spanish. "We do not want to use tariffs to damage supply chains, job creation or investment."
But Jorge Guajardo, a former Mexican ambassador to China, said what Mexico can do that is to implement more strategic countermeasures as opposed to blanket tariffs.
As an example, he said Mexico could consider target Kentucky bourbon because of its political importance and ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. It is also used for the production of various autoparts that make several trips back and forth over the border as a car is built.
"Very simply," Guajardo said. "Sen. Lindsey Graham [RS.C.] said he supported President Trump's tariffs. You can be first certain that Mexico is thinking South Carolina what they are exporting to Mexico. And that will be targeted as long as it's not in a supply chain . "