Expressions of pessimism over trade talks by United States President Donald Trump yesterday were simply “negotiating strategy” and Mexicans needn’t panic over it, the foreign affairs secretary said.
Luis Videgaray was responding to Trump’s warning at a rally in Arizona that he didn’t think it would be possible to conclude an agreement during negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which began a week ago.
Trump said “we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point” and “personally, I don’t think we can make a deal because we have been so badly taken advantage of.”
But he did offer the caution that he had not yet made up his mind about an accord that he has described in the past as the “worst” trade deal in history.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer pointed out after that the U.S. was seeking “substantial changes to address its fundamental failures,” and that Trump had made it clear from the outset that the U.S. would withdraw from NAFTA if the renegotiation was unsuccessful.
In a television interview, the Mexican foreign affairs secretary said Trump was “negotiating in his own particular style.”
Videgaray said on Twitter the president’s remarks were not a surprise, and that Mexico would continue negotiating “calmly, firmly and with the national interest in front.”
In an interview this morning he said Trump negotiates with a peculiar strategy but there was no cause for alarm.
Mexico, he said, was proceeding “with a cool head. We have to learn to react and not overreact to this kind of declaration.”
Videgaray predicted a long and complex negotiation — and more declarations by the U.S. president.
“. . . I’m certain that we shall have more moments such as this and we must be prepared because along the way there will be discourse, Tweets, declarations of this nature to which we must react with calm.”
The NAFTA talks are to resume September 1 in Mexico City.