By Dave Graham / Reuters
Mexico aims to defend free trade with the United States by using border security and immigration policy to gain leverage in talks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump after he takes office next month, senior officials say.
To defuse Trump’s threats to disrupt trade and investment, policymakers say Mexico aims to strike a balance between hearing out his concerns over illegal immigration and U.S. jobs, and adopting a firm posture to protect its own economic interests.
Mexico wants security, immigration and management of the U.S.-Mexican border to be on the table alongside trade when it sits down to talk to the Trump administration, a person familiar with the government’s thinking said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
That could translate into Mexico offering to reinforce its northern border to curb drug smuggling and migrants, said one former high-level official familiar with discussions in Mexico.
After Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Mexico needs to keep the discussion with Washington as broad as possible, said Victor Giorgana, a congressman in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
“It can’t just be about one issue, as that would put us at a disadvantage,” said Giorgana, who chairs the lower house foreign relations committee.