News Mar 03, 2017 10:25 AM EST

Mexico economy minister sets meeting with US automaker executives in trade push

By April Kirstin Chua

Mexico economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo will meet with automaker executives Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. in Detroit after President Donald Trump vowed to exit NAFTA and impose tariffs. Guajardo will also meet with auto part makers operating in Detroit and Mexico.

Since the campaign period, Trump had been vocal with his plans of building a wall on the US southern border and tax goods from Mexico heading north if he wins the presidential seat. Unfortunately for Mexico, Trump is the most powerful president of the world today and it is fighting ways to prohibit the implementation of his promises. Mexico is, in fact, familiar with Trump's unpredictability and is not counting talks with the White House to save it from a possible trade war.

Instead, the southern half of North America aims to build support from companies and US states that rely on businesses in Mexico. This strategy will pressure the US president not to employ drastic measures. Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Mexico would only stay in NAFTA if it benefits the nation. The North American Free Trade Agreement, in short NAFTA, is a 1994 three-country trade accord between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The goal of the agreement is to eliminate barriers to trade and investment among the three nations and, so far, the NAFTA has been a large net positive for Mexico. Videgaray also rejected the imposition of any tariffs or quotas. "Thanks to NAFTA, Mexico and Michigan have built a dynamic trade relationship," the ministry said in a news release statement. Notably, Mexico was Michigan's second biggest trade partner with more than US$12 billion in exports to the country last year.

Last week, the White House sent diplomat Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to the south border to mend bad blood between the countries due to Trump's threats. Mexico discredited the effort when Trump described it as a military operation.

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