MEXICO CITY – Mexico will aim to keep tariff-free commerce with NAFTA partners Canada and the United States in its talks with the new U.S. government, President Enrique Peña Nieto said on Monday, and will seek bilateral trade deals with other nations.
In a key foreign policy speech, Peña Nieto underlined the importance of open dialogue and negotiation with new U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
“Neither confrontation nor submission. The solution is dialogue and negotiation,” Peña Nieto said.
Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, and would move to withdraw if no “fair deal” is forthcoming, according to the White House website.
He has also threatened to slap companies that move production to Mexico to export to the United States with a 35 percent tax.
Mexico will also immediately seek bilateral deals with countries that formed part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, Peña Nieto said at the event in Mexico City.
Trump formally withdrew the United States from the TPP on Monday.
This week, senior U.S. and Mexico officials will meet to discuss trade, security and immigration. Peña Nieto and Trump will meet at the end of January.
Mexico’s peso was little changed by Peña Nieto’s announcements. The currency was gaining ground for the second session in a row after Trump refrained from specifically mentioning Mexico in his inauguration speech last Friday or taking initial actions that would disrupt trade with Mexico.