For months during the campaign, angry Mexican leaders, current and past, dismissed GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump as a bully, a blowhard and an imbecile when he claimed he was going to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S. southwest border and make Mexico pay for it.
Mexican leaders also dismissed him haughtily when he said that, as president, he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed and implemented during the Clinton administration, because it was one-sided and a “disaster” for Americans who were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs as U.S. companies moved them south of the border.
Now, suddenly, Mexican leaders are taking Trump much more seriously. they are discovering that he was serious, and that they need the United States a lot more than the U.S. needs them.
As reported by Reuters, Trump’s incessant pressure has caused Mexican leaders to change their minds and sit down to discuss changes to NAFTA trade rules regarding a product’s country of origin, in order to avoid a disruptive fight with the U.S. over commerce – one that Mexico, frankly, cannot afford to lose. (RELATED: Stay current on how this all turns out at WhiteHouse.news)
Trump demonstrated his business chops and negotiating prowess when he convinced Carrier and Ford to change plans to move thousands of jobs from plants they planned to close in the U.S. to new plants in Mexico. Now, apparently, Mexican leaders see more carnage on the horizon if they don’t sit down with his administration and work something out.
Mexican officials say they see potential common ground with Trump on “rules of origin” language in NAFTA, an agreement that was signed by the U.S., Mexico and Canada. As Reuters noted further:
Rules of origin are regulations setting out where trade products are sourced from. Although formal negotiations about NAFTA have not begun, the rules could eventually be altered to favor U.S. industry over competitors from outside North America, particularly in Asia.
If those rules are eventually changed, it might help Trump achieve a major campaign promise and policy goal: bolstering American jobs and manufacturing, while dovetailing with the Mexican government’s efforts to strengthen North American competitiveness.
That’s not all. New negotiations could also open the door to a broader deal with the Trump administration over another major campaign promise – border security and immigration – Mexican officials say.
One Mexican official told Reuters that discussions with the Trump White house about NAFTA country of origin rules will be a “very important” point now that the billionaire businessman-turned-president is in office, though the White House would not comment on any possible talks and negotiations.
Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s foreign minister, is involved in talks with top Trump officials in Washington this week. He is joined by Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo. In addition to NAFTA, security and migration are understood to be topics of discussion.
Since Trump won the presidency, there has been widespread fear in Mexico City that the country will suffer economic disaster. During the campaign, Trump threatened to dissect NAFTA, impose protectionist tariffs on imports from south of the border, and build the wall. (RELATED: The president is busy and you can stay current with the most recent developments at Trump.news)
Mexico is reluctant to alter the 1994 agreement – and it’s clear why. It’s been a one-way street regarding trade since the agreement took effect, a situation which was predicted by another billionaire businessman-turned-presidential contender during the 1992 elections, Ross Perot:
Despite the country’s reluctance, Mexican officials also admit that some changes are going to be necessary in order to keep trading with the United States, which – as Reuters noted – takes in 80 percent of what Mexico exports.
So, in other words, if Mexico won’t or can’t trade with the U.S., it won’t have an economy.
Trump knows this. The Mexican government knows Trump knows that. Hence the “change of heart.”
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