In tweets, the president brings trade deal into play over annual protest that has caught his attention
President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that the North American Free Trade Agreement was “in play” and threatened to end aid to Honduras and other Central American countries if an organized protest march of 1,000 asylum seekers traveling through Mexico reaches the U.S. border.
.. “Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen. Congress MUST ACT NOW!”
.. The “caravan of people” Mr. Trump attacked Tuesday is an annual event that leaders say aims to raise awareness about the tens of thousands of Central Americans who, facing gang violence and political unrest in one of the world’s most violent areas, flee every year to Mexico or the U.S. Many are turned back, extorted or kidnapped along the way.
.. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray responded to Mr. Trump’s comment Sunday with a tweet of his own denying that his government was doing nothing to control migration. “Every day Mexico and the U.S. work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect this,” he said. “Upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law.”
.. Mexican and U.S. officials, facing national elections this year, have pressed for a relatively quick deal on Nafta, while their Canadian counterparts have held out for an agreement that would preserve key structures from the existing Nafta, including a dispute-settlement system that can challenge tariffs levied by the Trump administration.
.. Mr. Trump’s threat to cut aid to Honduras is one of a series of such warnings he has issued in the first 14 months of his administration, on which he hasn’t always followed through.
The U.S. plans to send $65.8 million in aid to Honduras in fiscal year 2019, according to the State Department, though none of those funds have yet been obligated or spent.