Mexico will not pay for Trump wall, but seeks cooperation

Wed Nov 9, 2016 6:48pm EST
 
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By Michael O'Boyle and Noe Torres

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico said on Wednesday it would work with Donald Trump for the benefit of both nations after his surprise U.S. election win, but reiterated it would not pay for his planned border wall, which stirred up deep resentment during a fraught presidential campaign.

As Trump strode toward victory, the peso plunged 13 percent in its biggest fall since the Tequila Crisis devaluation 22 years ago, before paring losses to trade down 8.7 percent at 19.91 per dollar. Still, officials held back from taking action to support the peso despite it hitting lifetime lows overnight.

Trump's threats to dump the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) agreement with Mexico and Canada, and to tax money sent home by migrants to pay for the controversial wall on the southern border, have made the peso particularly vulnerable to events in the U.S. presidential race.

"Very hard times are coming to Mexico," said analyst Gabriela Siller of Mexican bank BASE.

Still, President Enrique Pena Nieto said he called to congratulate Trump, and had agreed to meet the New Yorker during the transition phase to discuss joint cooperation, which he hopes would strengthen the competitiveness of North America.

Welcoming Trump's victory speech pledge to seek "common ground" and partnership with other countries, Pena Nieto said in a televised statement that Mexico shared the same vision.

"Dialogue to make agreements is still the best route for Mexico, and my government will seek opportunities that benefit both nations in this new phase of bilateral relations," he said.

Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu reiterated that Mexico would not pay for Trump's proposed wall. The vow to make Mexico pay for the barrier was a key feature of his stump speeches.   Continued...

 
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a message after U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump won an unexpected victory in the presidential election, at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, Mexico, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso