The new foreign minister of Mexico, Luis Videgaray, exclaimed that his country will not, in any way, pay for Trump’s wall. The president-elect has pledged this said wall to physically keep out illegal immigrants coming from south of the border. “There’s no way that could happen,” Videgaray commented on Mexican television just days after his appointment.
“There are no circumstances…not even the best possible trade deal, investments, support which would justify taking a step that would violate the dignity of Mexicans to such an extent,” Videgaray added. Trump’s wall has been a serious point of contention between the president-elect and his neighbor to the south. Donald Trump announced the wall during his campaign in June 2015. He accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug dealers to the US.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) January 9, 2017
So, Trump said last Friday that Mexico will repay the US once they finish the wall. The announcement comes just one day after Trump’s transition team revealed that they appealed to congress for funding. Trump said on Friday that Mexico would repay the United States for the wall, a day after news emerged that the New Yorker’s transition team was exploring getting the Republican-led Congress to vote to approve the funding, Reuters reported.
Luis Videgaray Returns to Public Office
Videgaray is a former finance minister of his country. He had played a significant role in setting up Trump’s visit to Mexico City last August. This visit, as it turned out, became a public relations disaster for President Enrique Pena Nieto. In fact, a week later, Videgaray decided to step down as finance minister.
For Mexicans, Videgaray’s return to the public scene is quite jarring. His appointment, it also seems, comes as a reaction to Trump’s unprecedented victory in the US presidential elections. Trump’s rise to the presidency has caused much dismay for many Mexicans, Business Insider commented.
As for Videgaray, he conceded that his appointment as foreign minister will test the limits of his experience. He admitted that, first, he is not a diplomat. He also said that he will learn from the foreign ministry in the moment that their country needs them. For Videgaray, “the challenge is enormous.”
Foreign Minister Meets Jared Kushner
Mexican officials commented that he had an important role during the informal talks with the Trump transition team, particularly Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. He is set to become a senior White House adviser. Videgaray said in a televised interview that Kushner left a “very favorable impression” on him. Furthermore, the new foreign minister also described him as “extraordinarily competent.”
Videgaray was able to contact Kushner via connections on Wall Street, the foreign minister said. It also appears that Trump himself holds Videgaray in high regard. When the former finance minister stepped down, Trump commented that they lost a brilliant and highly-respected public official. With him back as foreign minister, and who is also willing to negotiate, the two neighboring countries could be looking at mutually profitable deals in the future.
Trump Attacks Mexican Automobile Sector
Trump threatened to ditch a trade deal with Mexico if they cannot renegotiate the deal to US favor. He also threatened hefty border taxes on Mexican goods. In particular, the automobile sector is already taking a hit.
Last week Ford decide to cancel a $1.6 billion investment in Videgaray’s country and Trump thanked the firm for this. “I think the uncertainty (over trade) is doing a lot of harm to investment decisions in the automotive sector and many other sectors,” Videgaray lamented. As such, Mexico needs more trade missions in Asia, Europe and Latin America to diversify its base. Videgaray added that a meeting between Pena Nieto and Trump, once Trump officially takes office on Jan. 20, is a top priority.
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