U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for unity and understanding on his first day at the State Department amid internal dissent over policies of President Donald Trump, which have also antagonized a range of allies. Within hours of starting the job, Tillerson reached out by phone to counterparts from Mexico and Canada, spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and met with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, department officials said.
Business Insider During a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto last Friday, US President Donald Trump disparaged Mexico and threatened to use military force against the drug trade. While both the White House and the Mexican president characterized the call as a “friendly,” Dolia Estevez, a journalist based in Washington, DC, said she “obtained confidential information” corroborating the content of the discussion.
“I don’t need the Mexicans. I don’t need Mexico,” Trump reportedly told the Mexican president. “We are going to build the wall and you all are going to pay for it, like it or not.”
RT – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has accepted an apology offered by the Israeli President who made amends following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘wall’s a great idea’ tweet that caused a misunderstanding and a diplomatic spat between the two nations.
NYPost – Peru and Colombia vowed to stand with Mexico as the country faces an uncertain economic future and grapples with a crisis with the United States just days into U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
Chicago Tribune – President Donald Trump shifted a jam-packed schedule Friday to make room for an hourlong phone call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. By the end of the conversation, Trump had tasked his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner — a real estate executive with no national security experience — with managing the ongoing dispute.
DW – Mexico’s government rebuked Israel for a tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in support of Trump’s plan to build a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico.
NYT – How could Mexico inflict the most damage on the United States? In normal times this question would not be top of mind for Mexican policy makers. Mexican governments over the last quarter-century have consistently pushed back against the nation’s historical resentment toward the United States, hoping to build a more cooperative relationship with its overbearing northern neighbor.
But these aren’t normal times. As President Trump prepares the opening gambit in his project to either renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or pull out, Mexico’s most important strategic goal is narrowing to one word: deterrence.
Al Jazeera – Ten heads of state and 33 foreign ministers gathered at the annual CELAC – the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States – summit in the Dominican Republic were already preparing to debate ways to confront a new regional reality.
By Veronica Gomez and Alexandra Alper / Reuters
Mexico could pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if a renegotiation of its terms does not benefit Latin America’s second largest economy, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Tuesday.
“There could be no other option. Go for something that is less than what we already have? It would not make sense to stay,” Guajardo said when asked on local television if Mexico could pull out of the trade deal with Canada and the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to withdraw from NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, if he cannot renegotiate it to benefit American interests.
Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday and said he would renegotiate NAFTA “at the appropriate time.”
Senior U.S. and Mexican officials will meet this week in Washington to discuss trade, security and immigration. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Trump will meet at the end of January.
BBC – It’s not every day you see a Mariachi band dressed in full regalia at an Alpine ski lodge. But Mexico Night at Davos is no ordinary event. An evening of tapas and tequila – this annual affair is organised by the government’s international trade body, ProMexico, to promote the country’s business interests at the World Economic Forum, and schmooze potential investors to the sound of “Besame Mucho”.
Reuters – The United States, Mexico and Cuba aim to sign an agreement determining territorial water limits before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, three diplomatic officials familiar with the matter said.
The Guardian – Fires, explosions and collapsing offshore rigs have cost the lives of more than 190 workers at facilities run by Mexico’s state-owned oil company since 2009. Yet American taxpayers have backed loans to the company worth more than $8.5 billion during the Obama years, through an obscure agency which has quietly spoiled the president’s record on climate change.
By Ana Campoy / Quartz
China and Mexico have been friends for a long time, but after Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential elections, both countries are looking for more in their relationship.
Over the weekend, Chinese ambassador to Mexico Qiu Xiaoqi promised Mexicans his country is standing by them through the uncertain times ahead. His comments were made during a press conference to launch a year of cultural festivities to celebrate the two countries’ 45 years of diplomatic relations. A day later, the two countries signed an agreement to expand food shipments from Mexico to China. Separately, Chinese oil major CNOOC made two handsome bids for contracts to explore Mexico’s offshore oil fields, and won.
“This means that they see Mexico as a trustworthy country,” said a beaming Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s energy secretary.
As the two main targets of Trump’s anti-globalization tirades, China and Mexico have a lot to commiserate about. The president-elect’s talk of tearing up trade deals, starting trade wars and closing borders irks both countries, which have big stakes on international trade. Strengthening their ties is a symbolic snub to Trump’s vision of the world.
Plus, both countries could benefit economically. Latin America is already a big piece of China’s international expansion strategy, and Mexico is one of the region’s largest markets. In turn, Mexico could use some Chinese investment at a time when it desperately needs to diversify its US-heavy portfolio.
But before they get carried away with the potential geopolitical and economic boon of closer cooperation, a few words of caution, via Enrique Dussel Peters, who runs the China-Mexico Studies Center at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. “Given the differences with Trump, today it’s popular to postulate that China is going to be a solution for Mexico,” he said. “That could be, but today there are no concrete conditions for that.”
Maclean – While the United States hears calls to wall off Mexicans, Canada is welcoming them more than ever. On Dec. 1, the Canadian government lifted the visa requirement for Mexican citizens traveling to Canada for up to six months, including for tourists, business people, and diplomats.
Politico – Negotiators who’ve worked for years are pressing to finish a new water-sharing deal over the dwindling supplies from the Colorado River before president-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20 — or put at risk years of fruitful collaboration on the sharing of cross-border water supplies that are vital to both countries,
Reuters – President Barack Obama spoke by phone on Monday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto about the economy, organized crime and migration. The presidents agreed to “take steps to solidify the relationship and institutionalize mechanisms of cooperation,” the White House said.
CNN – United States President-elect Donald Trump will have a lot of global challenges to deal with, and Mexico is one of them. Here’s what you need to know.
RT – If Republican Donald Trump wins the White House, Mexico could retaliate against American expats and cancel 75 historic treaties with the US, including the peace treaty that ceded much of the American Southwest to Washington, one lawmaker says.
Miami Herald – Republican candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico was a textbook case of amateurish diplomacy, but there is something much more troublesome about it. It may resurrect Mexico’s anti-American revolutionary nationalism and hurt the United States for years to come.
NYT – Hillary Clinton said that she would not visit Mexico before the November election, delivering another setback to President Enrique Peña Nieto a week after he faced furious criticism at home for receiving Donald J. Trump.