President Enrique Pena Nieto again rejected Donald Trump’s demand that Mexico pay for a wall along the border, but he vowed to seek good relations with the US president-elect.
Hours after Trump repeated his warnings against Mexico during a press conference, Pena Nieto said his government will seek “open and complete negotiations” with the next US government.
“Everything that defines our bilateral relations is on the table, including security, migration and trade,” he told an annual meeting of Mexican ambassadors at the National Palace.
“At no time will we accept anything that goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans,” he said.
“It is obvious that we have some differences with the next government of the United States, like the issue of the wall that Mexico of course will not pay for,” Pena Nieto said as diplomats applauded.
“What I can assure you is that we will work to have a good relationship with the United States and its president.”
Trump said he could impose a “tax” on Mexico to fund the wall, which would first be paid for with funding arranged through the US Congress.
While the Republican billionaire did not mention his previous threat to tap into the remittances Mexican migrants send back home, Pena Nieto said he would work to “maintain the free flow of remittances.”
Turning to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump wants to renegotiate, Pena Nieto said his country will seek an agreement that gives “certainty” to investments.
In a thinly veiled reference to Trump’s vow to impose a 35 per cent tariff on companies that ship jobs to Mexico, the Mexican leader said his government rejects any attempt to influence foreign investors “on the basis of fear or threats.”
Pena Nieto issued his own demands to the incoming administration, which takes office on January 20.
He renewed Mexican demands that the US government stop the illegal trafficking of guns from the United States to Mexico, which the southern neighbour has blamed for fueling drug violence for years.
Pena Nieto also said the United States needs to block the flow of money from illegal proceeds that fund organised crime. Referring to Trump’s vow to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, Pena Nieto said any repatriation must “continue in an orderly and coordinated” manner to “guarantee the humane treatment and the respect of the rights of Mexican migrants.”
(With inputs from agencies)