Mexico receives US secretaries to try to ease tension
Key issues on the agenda, according to Washington, will be border security, police cooperation, and trade.
Mexico receives the US Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, Rex Tillerson and John Kelly, and wants to transform the tension between the two countries in a “respectful and constructive” relationship, although it is determined not to allow That their national sovereignty will be shaken.
US Secretary of State Donald Trump will meet with Mexican leader Enrique Peña Nieto and his secretaries of International Relations, Interior, Finance, Defense, and Navy, the State Department said on Tuesday.
The main agenda items, according to Washington, will be border security, police cooperation, and trade. The goal, says Mexico, is to work “for a respectful, close and constructive relationship.”
Since Trump arrived at the White House a month ago, the two neighbors are in a diplomatic crisis.
During the campaign, the tycoon has begun to strain relations with his particular rhetoric, referring to Mexicans as “bad men,” delinquents and rapists.
After the inauguration, it ordered the construction of a great wall in the border and insisted that Mexico pays it. In reaction, Peña Nieto canceled the trip to Washington that he planned for January 31.
Trump also pledged massive deportations of illegal immigrants, which in recent weeks have resulted in numerous arrests of migrants.
And it threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, block remittances and renegotiate, or even repeal, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which it considers to be very favorable to Mexico.
Still, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray insists the two countries are working on an understanding since he traveled to Washington 15 days ago to meet with Tillerson, a discrete diplomat with whom he also met a few days ago at the G20 in Bonn.
“Mexico is a country that wants to build bridges, which do not want to build walls,” Videgaray said in Germany.
“We have public disagreements, notorious, that we have not yet resolved, there are positions in which Mexico is naturally not willing to concede a millimeter, but in many other subjects we are open to building through dialogue,” he said.
Long and complex trading
Videgaray warned that Thursday’s meeting would be just one more of a long list.
Seeking to prevent Washington from imposing conditions that violate national sovereignty, the Mexican Senate will draft a legislative decree that defines and limits the terms of the negotiation.
He will include the five key issues of this crisis: migration, human rights, trade and economy, security at the border and the construction of the wall, the president of the Political Coordination Board of the Senate Fernando Herrera told reporters.
“It is necessary to negotiate firmly, with intelligence, preserving our sovereignty and with the dignity to which all Mexicans are referring,” he added, referring to the protests that in recent days demanded firmness of Peña Nieto’s government.
According to a BBVA Research report, “uncertainty surrounding the economic policies of the new US administration,” in particular the renegotiation of NAFTA, is already affecting business confidence in Mexico and will cause investments to fall.
Mexico’s first trading partner, the United States receives 80% of Mexican exports.
Thus, the study service of the Spanish bank predicts that the Mexican economy will grow 1% in 2017, against 2% in 2016.
In this context, the Mexican Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, has hinted that if Washington wants to impose unacceptable commercial conditions, Mexico can stop its cooperation in other fields.
“We were a great ally in the fight against the problems of migration, narcotics,” he told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail on Saturday.
But “if the relationship is mismanaged at any time, it will reduce incentives for the Mexican people to continue to cooperate on issues that are at the heart of American security,” he added.
According to experts, border insecurity linked to drug trafficking and illegal entry into the United States has declined considerably in recent years thanks to the cooperation of Mexican authorities.
In 2016, Mexico deported 147,370 migrants, against 80,900 in 2013, according to government figures.