New Scientist article New Mexico, Mexico — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday said the US should “get out of” NAFTA.
“They’re the only ones that will say, ‘You can’t do that,’ ” Peña said during a visit to the US state of California, where he was meeting with a group of business leaders.
Peña, who is in Mexico for a regional summit, also called on the US to impose tariffs on Mexican imports.
The Mexican president’s comments came after the Trump administration said it would seek to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade pact between the United States, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and Britain.
The White House said Wednesday it was exploring the possibility of allowing more US companies to move production to Mexico.
Trump has also threatened to slap a 35% tariff on goods from Mexico that US firms manufacture in the US.
“I am not for any trade war,” Peña told a news conference in San Diego.
“We will fight for the future of our country.”
Peña has called for a “very, very big trade war” with the US, while saying the country would never be in “a position of being able to compete economically with the United Kingdom or Canada.”
Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Peña’s comments were “insulting to the Mexican people and insulting to the entire world.”
Mexico is a major US producer, with over $3.7 trillion in annual trade.
The US is the second-largest supplier of Mexican goods after Canada.
The Trump administration has threatened to impose hefty tariffs on Mexico’s products, saying that it would hurt US manufacturers.
The move comes after Peña promised to raise taxes on the rich, who have been suffering under high unemployment and a sharp drop in the value of the peso against the US dollar.
The government says it will raise taxes in March to $200 billion, though some analysts say it could go as high as $400 billion.
Trump’s administration has also called for Mexico to pay for a border wall that it says is needed to stop drug cartels and crime.
Mexico’s top business lobby group, the National Council of Industry, said Wednesday that Peina’s comments could “send a message that the United.
States is not serious about our trade relationship.”
The White Trump administration and Peña are set to meet Wednesday to discuss ways to deepen economic ties between the two countries, the Mexican government said.
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