MEXICO CITY – Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said on Friday a united Mexico was ready to help the government negotiate with Donald Trump, and tried to calm fears in his country about what the U.S. president’s policies would mean for its economy.
In a rare news conference by the generally media-shy mogul, Slim said Mexico needed to negotiate from a position of strength, noting that Trump, who he called a “great negotiator,” represented a major change in how politics was conducted.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday canceled a planned summit with Trump after the American tweeted that he should stay away unless Mexico agreed to pay for a border wall.
Aiming to cool tensions, the two presidents spoke for an hour by phone on Friday, and the peso currency rose.
Slim, who spoke out against his fellow billionaire during the U.S. election campaign but had dinner with him after the Nov. 8 victory, went out of his way to calm Mexican fears about the impact of Trump’s policies on the economy.
“The circumstances in the United States are very favorable for Mexico,” Slim said, arguing that Trump’s policies aimed at growing the U.S. economy would boost the Mexican economy as well as Mexican workers living north of the border.
Referring repeatedly to Trump’s books and other writings, Slim argued that Mexican workers in the United States would benefit from Trump’s planned infrastructure push.
He said the best wall to prevent more migration would be investment that creates opportunities and jobs in Mexico.