If implemented, the tariffs would have been disruptive at a time when USA growth is perhaps slowing, been an economic gut-punch to an allied country whose stability is important to us, and probably precipitated a congressional revolt against the policy.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who led the Mexican negotiating team in marathon talks in Washington last week, said he had rebuffed the United States demand for such a measure, but agreed to revisit the matter in 45 days.
Ebrard, who led the Mexican negotiating team in marathon talks in Washington, spoke as Trump renewed his tariff threat over a secret provision in the deal. "It will be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico's legislative body", Trump said on Twitter.
"If we don't have results on what we're doing (in 45 days), we'll start conversations on what they want, which is that Mexico will be a safe third country", he told Mexican radio.
The proposed tariffs would have increased 5% per month, maxing out at 25%, until Mexico brought the flow of illegal immigration to a stop. Mexico also pledged to reinforce its southern border with Guatemala with 6,000 members of its National Guard militarized police.
"There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained", Ebrard said. "Mexico is open to negotiations if we fail, but we're not going to fail", he told a news conference. "If we have to participate in a regional model like the one I have just described, we would have to present that to Congress".
It could be related to plans for a regionwide asylum agreement if enforcement measures agreed to last week between Washington and Mexico City do not halt a surge of migrants from Central America to the United States. Migrants from African countries regularly fly to Brazil before making the arduous journey north. This avoids one of the biggest problems of our current policy, which allows asylum-seekers into the country, never to be removed, even if their claims are rejected and they are ordered deported.
Mr Ebrard also said United States negotiators had wanted Mexico to commit to "zero migrants" crossing its territory, but that was "mission impossible".
"Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border".
Close-up photographs of the paper reveal that it discusses "burden sharing in relation to the processing of refugees" - likely a reference to some kind of policy that would keep migrants seeking asylum in Mexico or elsewhere instead of the U.S. Officials from those countries did not immediately respond to Ebrard's comments. Cuccinelli, a former attorney general of Virginia, has developed a reputation as a hardliner on immigration. "If they don't get approval, we'll have to think in terms of tariffs".
Mexico had no specific target for the reduction of migrant numbers, Ebrard said.
"The president and other key administration officials also sharply disputed a New York Times report claiming the Friday deal "largely" had been negotiated months ago, and hinted that not all major details of the new arrangement have yet been made public", Fox News" Gregg Re reported.
Trump alluded to mysterious secret provisions in the deal that he said would have to be approved by the Mexican Congress.