- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto responded to Donald Trump’s victory by calling for continued partnership with the U.S. and expressing hope that economic and political ties between the two nations won’t be damaged by a Trump presidency.

While Mr. Pena Nieto was among the harshest Trump’s critics ahead of Tuesday’s vote, he focused a flurry of tweets Wednesday on the U.S.-Mexico friendship, saying both nations “should continue working for the competitiveness and the development of North America.”

“I am confident that Mexico and the U.S. will continue to tighten ties of cooperation and mutual respect,” the Mexican president wrote.

His words came as the Mexican peso fought back from its biggest single-day plummet in 22 years on fears Mr. Trump will stick to a campaign pledge to rewrite or trash the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Mr. Trump argues the agreement has unfairly favored Mexico since taking effect 22 years ago.

He has also proposed blocking billions of dollars in remittances sent home by Mexicans working in the U.S. and to make Mexico pay for what he has promised will be a “Great Wall of Trump” built along the U.S.-Mexico border during his presidency.

Mr. Trump outraged many in Mexico and the U.S., meanwhile, with at times aggressive language toward Latin Americans on the campaign trail and accusations that the Mexican government has allowed criminals, drug dealers and rapists to cross northward into the U.S.

Mr. Pena Nieto, who months ago likened Mr. Trump’s rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, has publicly dismissed the idea of a wall — and of Mexico paying for it.

Many analysts and business leaders says the U.S. and Mexican economies have grown so enmeshed under NAFTA that any hasty move toward disentanglement could send shockwaves through both nations and possibly the global economy.

Reuters on Wednesday quoted former Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Andres Rozental as saying Mexico “will be facing months of volatility and uncertainty while the new government in Washington takes office and we see whether Mr.Trump is able to make good on his unfortunate campaign promises and rhetoric.”

Other Mexican officials have spoken increasingly during recent months of pushing to diversify their nation’s export markets in the hope of reducing Mexico’s trade dependency on the U.S.

Despite his own past comments on Mr. Trump, Mr. Pena Nieto has said he would work with whoever won the U.S. presidency.

The Mexican president was pilloried at home for inviting Mr. Trump to visit in late August in an effort to create some leverage for his government in case Mr. Trump won the U.S. presidency.

At the time, Mr. Trump briefly softened his tone toward Mexico. He met with Mr. Pena Nieto and held a news conference it was important to keep manufacturing in North America. He also described Mexican-Americans as “spectacular, hard-working people.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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