Mexican president calls off Washington visit

Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has called off a meeting planned for next week with US president Donald Trump in Washington after Trump tweeted:

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 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.

Peña Nieto responded on Twitter:

This morning we told the White House we won’t attend next Tuesday’s meeting with @POTUS. Mexico reiterates its will to work with the US to achieve agreements for both of us.

A new way of doing international diplomacy.

From Politico: Mexican president cancels Trump meeting in Washington

Trump kicked off the process of constructing his long-promised border wall on Wednesday, signing an executive order to begin fulfilling one of the very first campaign promises he made. The president promised throughout his campaign that Mexico would pay for a “great wall” on the U.S. border, but since winning the White House, he has begun suggesting that U.S. taxpayers would front the money for the wall for expediency’s sake but will be reimbursed by the Mexican government.

There is also growing trade tension between Mexico and the US.

Beyond upsetting America’s neighbors, a move by the Trump administration to back out of NAFTA entirely could have its own dramatic set of economic consequences. Such a decision could upset international supply chains that stretch across North America that have been developed in the 23 years since NAFTA was enacted. Those supply chains support some 14 million American jobs that depend on trade with Canada and Mexico.

Top Mexican government officials were already in Washington on Wednesday, hammering out plans for Peña Nieto to visit Washington next week, although Trump’s executive orders only added to the pressure on Mexico’s president to cancel that trip.

Peña Nieto has been adamant on the wall.

I regret and reproach the decision of the United States to build a wall that for many years, far from uniting us, has divided us. Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said it many times before — Mexico will not pay for a wall.

From an ABC interview with Trump:

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I want to start — we’re five days in. And your campaign promises. I know today you plan on signing the order to build the wall.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Correct.

DAVID MUIR: Are you going to direct U.S. funds to pay for this wall? Will American taxpayers pay for the wall?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Ultimately it’ll come out of what’s happening with Mexico. We’re gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I will say …

DAVID MUIR: So, they’ll pay us back?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, absolutely, 100 percent.

DAVID MUIR: So, the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. Now, I could wait a year and I could hold off the wall. But I wanna build the wall. We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from. And I campaigned on the wall. And it’s very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.

DAVID MUIR: But you talked — often about Mexico paying for the wall. And you, again, say they’ll pay us back. Mexico’s president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, “It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.” He says …

(OVERTALK)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, he has to say that. He has to say that. But I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico.

We wanna have a very stable, very solid Mexico. Even more solid than it is right now. And they need it also. Lots of things are coming across Mexico that they don’t want. I think it’s going to be a good thing for both countries. And I think the relationship will be better than ever before.

The relationship doesn’t look very good at the moment.