President Enrique Peña Nieto, troubled by falling approval ratings at home, is vowing to protect migrants, free trade and investment as his government prepares for negotiations with the administration of President Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In a speech at the presidential residence outlining Mexico’s position on future relations, Peña Nieto said Mexico would remain open to global trade while seeking to diversify its trade and political relations.
“We must maintain free trade between Canada, the US and Mexico. Commercial exchanges among the three countries should be exempt from any tariff or quota, as has been the case since 2008,” he said.
The comments came as Trump, who has said he would seek to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to achieve better terms for the US, formally withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a broad trade pact that includes Mexico, Canada and other Pacific nations.
Trump also reiterated plans for a major border tax on US companies that move production abroad.
Washington’s abandonment of the TPP, which had been hopelessly stalled months before Trump’s inauguration, threatens the survival of the trade agreement, which has yet to be implemented.
Peña Nieto said Mexico would seek to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with members of the TPP, and was also ready to negotiate a bilateral trade deal with the UK once it leaves the European Union.
Mexico, which sends about 80 percent of its exports to the US and has free-trade trade pacts with more than 40 other countries, will also bring migration and security issues to the table in its talks with the US, in which it will neither seek confrontation nor be submissive, Peña Nieto said.
“While for Mexico the relationship with the US is fundamental, so too for the US, the relationship with Mexico is of great importance,” he added.
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