President Trump signaled optimism on Friday about discussions between the U.S. and Mexico over tariffs on imports from the country that are scheduled to go into effect on Monday.
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The president indicated that talks over the course of this week may lead to an agreement between the two countries. But if they don’t, the tariff slap will happen as originally planned.
“If we are able to make the deal with Mexico, & there is a good chance that we will, they will begin purchasing Farm & Agricultural products at very high levels, starting immediately,” Trump tweeted. “If we are unable to make the deal, Mexico will begin paying Tariffs at the 5% level on Monday!”
In a follow-up tweet, he took aim at Democrats saying they “are incapable of doing a good and solid Immigration Bill!”
Discussions between U.S. and Mexican officials have been ongoing in Washington this week as Trump visited the U.K., Ireland, and France during the week.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday that Trump has been in regular touch with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on tariff negotiations. She wasn’t sure if negotiations will go on past Friday, she said.
At this point, the tariff plan was expected to move forward, Sanders said. But she added that officials have “made a lot of progress” and “the meetings have gone well.”
“Our position is still the same - we’re moving forward with tariffs starting on Monday,” Sanders said.
Trump last week announced that on Monday, the U.S. “will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP.”
If Mexico does not step in, Trump said the tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 15 percent on Aug. 1, 20 percent on Sept. 1 and 25 percent on Oct. 1.
Since the talks began on Wednesday, Mexico has offered small and so far undisclosed concessions; the U.S. demanded major action, according to The Associated Press. The U.S. again pressed Mexico to step up enforcement on the southern border and to enter into a "safe third country agreement" that would make it difficult for those who enter Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S. Mexico has long resisted that request.
Trump officials have said Mexico can prevent the tariffs by securing its southern border with Guatemala, cracking down on criminal smuggling organizations and overhauling its asylum system.
In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador would not say whether he would accept his country agreeing to be a "safe third country." But during his daily news conference on Friday morning, he said “that is being looked at” and seemed hopeful that a deal could happen before Monday's deadline.
"There is time. ... It is still Friday. I am optimistic that an agreement will be reached," he said.
Fox News’ Sally Persons and The Associated Press contributed to this report.