Stunned Mex­ico pon­ders new re­la­tion­ship with U.S.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Maria Verza and Christo­pher Sher­man

MEX­ICO CITY >> Hours af­ter the United States elected Don­ald Trump to be its next pres­i­dent, Mex­ico be­gan care­fully lay­ing the ground­work for a re­la­tion­ship with a new leader who cam­paigned against its ci­ti­zens and threat­ened to wreak havoc with its econ­omy.

Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto sent a se­ries of mes­sages from his of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count Wed­nes­day morn­ing, con­grat­u­lat­ing not Trump him­self but the Amer­i­can elec­torate, and said he was ready to work with Trump to ad­vance the coun­tries’ re­la­tion­ship.

“Mex­ico and the United States are friends, part­ners and al­lies that must con­tinue col­lab­o­rat­ing for the com­pet­i­tive­ness and de­vel­op­ment of North Amer­ica,” Pena Ni­eto wrote.

The mes­sages came shortly af­ter Mex­ico’s Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Jose An­to­nio Meade tried to

strike a re­as­sur­ing tone in a news con­fer­ence by say­ing that Mex­ico’s fi­nan­cial po­si­tion is strong in the face of a fall­ing peso. He says no im­me­di­ate ac­tions are planned.

But the threat is real. The United States is Mex­ico’s largest trad­ing part­ner and the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, which Trump has said he wants to re-ne­go­ti­ate, is the back­bone of that com­merce.

“The re­la­tion­ship of Mex­ico and the U.S. is un­cer­tain,” said Isidro Mo­rales, of the Mon­ter­rey In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion. “Don­ald Trump is not a per­son of in­sti­tu­tions. Surely it will be a uni­lat­eral pol­icy worse than (Ge­orge W.) Bush and we don’t know what to ex­pect.”

Mex­ico’s cur­rency ap­peared to track Trump’s ris­ing and fall­ing for­tunes through­out the cam­paign and it fell sharply Tues­day night. Ac­cord­ing to Banco Base, the peso dropped 9.56 per­cent, its big­gest daily loss since 1995.

In the streets, Mex­i­cans fret­ted about just how many of Trump’s prom­ises to de­port mil­lions of im­mi­grants, re­vamp trade re­la­tions and make Mex­ico pay for a bor­der wall would come to fruition.

Reyes Isidro, a barista in a small neigh­bor­hood cof­fee shop, said that one way or an­other he was sure the poor would bear the brunt of Trump’s poli­cies, even in Mex­ico.

“In the end, the most af­fected are al­ways those of us who have the least,” Isidro said. “We’re the ones that have to take the hits.” He said the weaker peso would make it more dif­fi­cult to buy things.

And if Trump fol­lows through on his prom­ise of increased de­por­ta­tions, “what are those peo­ple go­ing to do? They will have to find a way to sur­vive on this side. The pos­si­bil­i­ties be­gin to nar­row for you,” he said.

Jose Maria Ramos, a professor at the Col­lege of the North­ern Bor­der in Ti­juana, said Mex­i­cans will have to wait and see what Trump re­ally does.

“A lot of pro­pos­als had a mar­ket­ing ef­fect,” he said. “It’s one thing to be a politi­cian and make state­ments; he man­aged the me­dia very ef­fec­tively.” But things like build­ing a wall and mak­ing Mex­ico pay for it could turn out to be too com­pli­cated to carry out. “Be­ing a can­di­date is not the same as be­ing pres­i­dent.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A street ven­dor hawks a news­pa­per em­bla­zoned with an im­age of Don­ald Trump with a clown’s nose, and a head­line that reads in Span­ish: “We’re screwed!,” in front of the An­gel of In­de­pen­dence mon­u­ment, in Mex­ico City, Wed­nes­day, Nov. 9, 2016.

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