Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto on Saturday said that his government will seek a dialogue with US President-elect Donald Trump, who infuriated Mexicans with vitriolic attacks on their country and its people during his campaign. “In the face of the positions that President-elect Trump has taken, we are prioritising dialogue as a path to build a new agenda for our bilateral relations,” Pena Nieto said at a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.
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“For Mexico, our relation with the United States is central, given the level of trade and integration we have now,” he added during a roundtable on trade in Lima, Peru. “Mexico, like the rest of the world, is about to begin a new era in our relations with the United States, and in trade terms we want to give that relationship its fair value.”
He pushed back against Trump’s calls to tear up or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, saying his country “will continue to be a fervent believer in openness.” But he said he is prepared to revisit aspects of the 22-year-old deal, including on environmental and labour issues.
Trump sharply criticised NAFTA and other trade deals on the campaign trail, saying they sent American jobs to countries with cheaper labour. The brash billionaire also insulted Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, vowed to force Mexico to pay billions of dollars to build a wall along the border, and threatened to restrict the remittances that immigrants in the United States send home.