In letter to Mexico, Trump urges quick NAFTA renegotiation


In a letter replying to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who won Mexico's presidential election on July 1, Trump said that he was looking forward to working closely together to build a great relationship, mentioning trade, security and migration.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer is hosting Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo as well as Jesus Seade, who will represent the incoming Lopez Obrador administration.

Mexico's president-elect has suggested that he could work well with Donald Trump because they are both anti-establishment leaders with a common touch.

He will be accompanied by Jesus Seade, the designated chief NAFTA negotiator of the incoming Mexican administration.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador will officially take office in December
Andrés Manuel López Obrador will officially take office in DecemberPEDRO PARDO AFP Getty Images

The letter was made public just a few days before the U.S., Mexico, and Canada are set to talk about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday, Lopez Obrador will meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in his transition offices.

In a speech at the White House about US manufacturing Monday, Mr. Trump also spoke optimistically about terms with Mexico.

Mexico is heavily dependent on the United States as an export market and Trump's threats to pull out of NAFTA have rattled investors and put pressure on the peso currency.

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"We're talking to Mexico on NAFTA, and I think we're going to have something worked out", he said. This doesn't herald the beginning of a split into separate bilateral deals, but an effort by the Americans to take a different tack in negotiations.

If the wage floor was enacted immediately, the Canadian official said, four major Mexican auto plants would immediately go out of business.

In the letter, Trump said that countries need to increase cooperation.

The United States is also exploring the possibility of imposing tariffs on auto imports, though Guajardo said it was too early to speculate on how that would play out.

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He noted that countries "that have treated us unfairly on trade for years" are coming to Washington to negotiate. The president is meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday.

Trump last week repeated his threat to pursue individual deals with Mexico and Canada, and the three nations still remain far apart on major points nearly a year after the negotiations first began. According to the report, as a result of the administration's tariffs, $11 million in New Hampshire exports to Canada are targeted for retaliation, and close to $1 million in exports to Mexico are targeted for retaliation.

Lopez Obrador's words come at a time when the facing backlash and confusion on the Trump administration's handling of the influx of immigrants, especially from Central and South America, and help from the bordering government will hopefully ease tensions on both sides.

"That change in Mexico presents us with the opportunity to restart those discussions".

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