By Mark Landler and Binyamin Applebaum / New York Times
President Trump told the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Wednesday that he would not immediately move to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, only hours after an administration official said he was likely to sign an order that would begin the process of pulling the United States out of the deal.
In what the White House described as “pleasant and productive” evening phone calls with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada,Trump said he would quickly start the process of renegotiating Nafta — not abandon it, as he said he would do during the 2016 presidential campaign if he could not rework the deal to his satisfaction.
“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up-to-date through renegotiation,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House at 10:33 p.m. “I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”
The announcement appeared to be an example of Trump’s deal-making in real time. It followed a day in which officials signaled that he was laying the groundwork to pull out of Nafta — a move intended to increase pressure on Congress to authorize new negotiations, and on Canada and Mexico to accede to American demands.
It was not clear whether the president would still sign an executive action to authorize renegotiation of Nafta, which he once called the worst trade deal ever signed by the United States.
Fox News – The scene was so typical of Mexico’s long-dominant ruling party that it could have happened a half century ago: poor women lined up under a blazing sun, waiting for a politician to show up hours late for a rally they had been obliged to attend under threat of losing benefits from an anti-poverty program.
But unlike a half-century ago, there were a couple of independent media outlets interviewing the women, who were hot, tired and outraged that a government program would be used for political purposes. The venting ended abruptly when Institutional Revolutionary Party workers arrived to kick out the reporters and tell the women to stop talking.
Fox News -A recent report released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) revealed that Mexico has surpassed Turkey as the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world. According to MexicoNewsDaily.com, Mexico welcomed 35 million visitors last year, with a 9 percent increase in foreign tourists arriving in the country.
CNBC – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that Chinese goods dumped in Mexico are finding their way to the United States. “Mexico’s trade deficit with China is approximately equal to their trade surplus to us. It’s not an accident,” he said.
NPR – Mexico has long argued that U.S. labeling rules for dolphin-safe tuna unfairly restrict its access to the U.S. market. And in a decision Tuesday, the World Trade Organization agreed, saying Mexico may seek $163 million annually from the U.S. in retaliatory measures.
Amnesty Intl – Mexican Congress passed the General Law on Torture which was promised over two years ago by the Mexican president after a national public outcry following massive human rights violations in the case of 43 disappeared students. Authorities must now ensure all those responsible for these heinous crimes under international law face justice.
Bloomberg – Even as the Trump administration jousts with Canada over its latest trade dispute, it might want to keep a closer eye on Mexico, America’s No. 1 one dairy importer. Its southern neighbor, which figures prominently in the U.S. government’s crime and immigration rhetoric, spent almost twice as much money as Canada did on U.S. dairy in 2016. That’s $1.2 billion.
LAT – Mexico Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray called President Trump’s proposal to build a border wall “an unfriendly, hostile act” that will further aggravate increasingly tense relations between the longtime allies. “It is not part of a bilateral discussion, and we will not collaborate in the construction,” he told a group of Mexican legislators. “It’s a waste of resources.”
Humane Society – In a groundbreaking victory for countless dogs caught up in Mexico’s animal fighting trade, the nation’s Senate has put the final stamp of approval on a comprehensive law that bans all dogfighting in the country and establishes tough penalties, including imprisonment and fines.
CNSNews – Corrupt state auditors and a federal government unwilling to tackle widespread corruption paved the way for the alleged embezzlement of more than $13 billion by former and current governors in Mexico, academic and civic researchers say.
Automotive News – Ford Motor Co.’s loss on its aborted Mexico plant in San Luis Potosi totaled $153 million, 23 percent less than it had originally booked. The automaker had expected a $199 million loss.
U.S. President Donald Trump indicated an openness on Monday to delaying his push to secure funds for his promised border wall with Mexico, potentially eliminating a sticking point as lawmakers worked to avoid a looming shutdown of the federal government.
Trump, in a private meeting with conservative media outlets, said he may wait until Republicans begin drafting the budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1 to seek government funds for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the White House confirmed.
Trump, whose approval ratings have slid since he took office, is facing a Friday deadline for Congress to pass a spending bill funding the government through September or risk marking his 100th day in office on Saturday with a government shutdown.
“Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement on Monday night.
AP – For more than 100 years, most of what gets flushed down Mexico City’s toilets has resurfaced two hours to the north in the rivers and reservoirs of the rural Mezquital Valley. A massive new water treatment plant is about to change this. But rather than welcoming the prospect of cleaner water, angry farmers are demanding the government honor an 1895 presidential decree granting them the right to the capital’s untreated sewage, which they see as fertilizer-rich, if foul, irrigation water.
NPR – As the White House pushes Congress to fund President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, a new wrinkle has emerged that could stymie parts of the massive project. Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.
DW – The head Mexico’s national emergency services, Luis Felipe Puente, warned on Monday that an unknown amount of nuclear material used in medical equipment had been stolen from the back of a truck in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state. The theft prompted an alert and search for material across nine states: Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan San Luis Potosi, Durango and Zacatecas.
The Guardian – For decades, the hunt for a royal tomb at the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacán has gripped archaeologists trying to unravel the secrets of the kingdom’s extraordinary political power. It is a mystery investigators thought they were on the verge of solving in 2015, when large quantities of liquid mercury were found amid a treasure trove of precious artefacts in a secret tunnel.
NBC – In a significant public health victory, Mexico has succeeded in eliminating a disease which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Mexico is the first country in the Americas to eliminate trachoma as a public health issue. The disease, caused by a bacteria, affects the eye and repeated infections can lead to scarring and loss of vision.
Texas Observer – In 2015, Texas traded more than $176 billion worth of goods with Mexico (compared to only $71 billion for California). A steep tariff would raise prices for consumer goods, including cars, fruits and vegetables. And a trade war could tank employment too: In the Lone Star State, more than 380,000 jobs depend on trade with Mexico.