Mexican president pledges ‘new agenda’ with Trump
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Mexican president pledges ‘new agenda’ with Trump

‘We are prioritizing dialogue,’ Enrique Pena Nieto says, putting aside president-elect’s fierce campaign rhetoric slamming his countryfolk

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, and then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands after a joint statement at Los Pinos, the presidential official residence, in Mexico City this past August. (AP/Marco Ugarte)
Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto, left, and then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shake hands after a joint statement at Los Pinos, the presidential official residence, in Mexico City this past August. (AP/Marco Ugarte)

LIMA, Peru — Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto said Saturday that his government will seek a dialogue with US President-elect Donald Trump, who infuriated Mexicans with vitriolic attacks on their country and its people during his campaign.

“In the face of the positions that President-elect Trump has taken, we are prioritizing dialogue as a path to build a new agenda for our bilateral relations,” Pena Nieto said at a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.

“For Mexico, our relation with the United States is central, given the level of trade and integration we have now,” he added during a roundtable on trade in Lima, Peru.

“Mexico, like the rest of the world, is about to begin a new era in our relations with the United States, and in trade terms we want to give that relationship its fair value.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto arrives at the Lima Convention Center to speak at the APEC CEO Summit in Lima, Peru, on November 19, 2016. (AFP/Ernesto Benavides)
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto arrives at the Lima Convention Center to speak at the APEC CEO Summit in Lima, Peru, on November 19, 2016. (AFP/Ernesto Benavides)

Pena Nieto pushed back against Trump’s calls to tear up or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, saying his country “will continue to be a fervent believer in openness.”

But he said he is prepared to revisit aspects of the 22-year-old deal, including on environmental and labor issues.

Trump sharply criticized NAFTA and other trade deals on the campaign trail, saying they sent American jobs to countries with cheaper labor.

The brash billionaire also insulted Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, vowed to force Mexico to pay billions of dollars to build a wall along the border, and threatened to restrict the remittances that immigrants in the United States send home.

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