As the possibility of a wall between Mexico and Guatemala grows, Mexico is no fan of another border wall: one between them and the United States.
While Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, should’ve seen it coming, President Trump’s executive order to begin immediate construction of a the border wall was the last straw. The two were set to meet in Washington D.C. on January 31st, but with Trump keeping his promise to pressure Mexico to pay for construction of a wall, and not walking back the foundation of his campaign platform, the meeting was scrapped.
Yesterday, he condemned the U.S. decision to build a wall on video, which he said “divides instead of unites.” The president of a nation that deports more Central American illegal immigrants than the U.S. then continued, “I have repeatedly said, ‘Mexico will not pay for a wall.”
He’s officially backing away from the table. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned meeting with President Donald Trump next week after the U.S. president increased pressure on Mexico to pay for a wall he wants built on the border.
“If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting,” Mr. Trump wrote on his personal Twitter feed on Thursday morning.
The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
In a show of brinkmanship, Mr. Trump suggested that Mexico has more to lose if relations with the U.S. sour. He tweeted that the U.S. has been hurt in trade dealings with Mexico stemming from the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in the early 1990s. He wrote that Nafta is a “one-sided” deal that has wiped out jobs in the U.S.
U.S. trade officials say the goods-and-service trade deficit with Mexico was more than $49 billion in 2015. Mr. Peña Nieto said on Twitter on Thursday that his administration notified the White House that he won´t meet with Mr. Trump on Tuesday, as originally planned. Mr. Peña Nieto had said he would consult Mexican officials about his next steps. The meeting with Mr. Trump had been scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Trump has proposed a number of ways to force the issue with Mexico, and making it a better alternative for them to simply fork over cash for the wall. The most touted being large tariffs on imported goods from them. The market reacted (at least for now) as if the decision would be good for Mexico, as the dollar appreciated against the peso immediately following the announcement that the meeting was canceled.
Stay tuned for more…
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]