MEXICO CITY – The political relationship between Mexico and the U.S. will be difficult with Donald Trump in the White House due to the anger his campaign rhetoric sparked south of the border, said Raul Benitez Manaut to Xinhua.
Manaut, a researcher from the North America Research Center at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, explained that the Mexican government would have a complex task with Donald Trump due to resistance to his anti-immigration and protectionist quotes.
“It will be very difficult for President Enrique Pena Nieto to maintain good relations with Trump because there will be a national resistance in the Mexican press and public opinion. Trump has been very aggressive,” said the expert.
Trump defeated his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, on Tuesday in an upset that few had predicted. He based much of his campaign on pulling the U.S. out of
NAFTA, the free-trade agreement signed with Canada and Mexico in 1994, as well as building a wall along the Mexican border. Trump also accused Mexico of sending “rapists” into the U.S.
Manaut dismissed the border wall as impossible in the short-term as Trump would need Congressional approval and to fully define an expensive budget.
On Wednesday, Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu made it clear that Mexico would absolutely not pay for the wall.
According to the minister, the Mexican government wishes to continue integration with the U.S. and to seek opportunities with its closest trading partner.
“The Mexican government has been clear and emphatic that paying for a wall is outside our intent,” said Ruiz Massieu, adding that the two countries must instead work together.
The mass deportation of undocumented migrants, another campaign promise, would equally be difficult given the legal permission needed to do so, according to
“Many of the things he said were campaign rhetoric. It is impossible to build that wall,” said Manaut.
He added that the Mexican government is waiting to see who Trump will appoint to his administration to deal with topics such as security and crime.
On Wednesday evening, Pena Nieto announced he had spoken with Trump and agreed to a meeting before the president-elect’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
For Manaut, Mexico must first face the challenge of avoiding that the peso depreciates due to turbulence on global markets, which will not be helped by Trump’s stance on commercial protectionism.
Trump has threatened to scrap the NAFTA agreement, signed between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in 1994, blaming it for taking jobs out of the U.S.
Any such protectionist policies would have severe economic impacts in Mexico, since the U.S. is its main trading partner and the destination for 80 percent of its exports.
The day after Trump’s victory on Tuesday, the peso plunged to an all-time low, standing at 20.74 to 1 U.S. dollar. While the central bank denied it would take
immediate measures to respond to this, it is broadly expected to raise interest rates in the coming days to counter this pressure.
In order to avoid such instability from lasting too long, Mexican international relations expert, Ulises Granados, said “Mexico must be very clear in the relation it wants with the U.S. in all areas. It must reach agreements to work together in favor of the wellbeing and development of both nations.”
The professor at the Mexican Autonomous Technological Institute (ITAM) told Xinhua that Mexico has the institutional strength and macroeconomic stability to face the challenges of financial volatility. However, he felt the country must secure its own interests in negotiations with the U.S.
Ruiz Massieu concluded that the Mexican government would seek spaces for dialogue and understanding with the Trump administration to find ways to defend the interests of the 35.5 million Mexican-Americans in the U.S.- BERNAMA