Mexico ‘Optimistic’ President Trump to Be Better Than Candidate

  • Nation has seen prior U.S. candidates bash southern neighbor
  • Trump, Pena Nieto discussed meeting before inauguration

Banco de Mexico's Sanchez on Trump Election Impact

Mexico’s government is optimistic that Donald Trump will be more respectful of the nation and appreciative of the benefits of the U.S.-Mexico relationship as president than he was as a candidate, according to the nation’s top diplomat for North America.

President Enrique Pena Nieto had a conversation with Trump on Wednesday, when he congratulated the Republican real estate developer on his election victory, and there’s a high probability for another meeting between the two before Trump’s inauguration, deputy Foreign Minister Paulo Carreno told Bloomberg News.

Enrique Pena Nieto, left, with Donald Trump during a joint conference in Mexico City, on Aug. 31.

Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Trump has pledged to build a wall between the two countries and make Mexico pay for it, end or overhaul the Nafta free-trade agreement, stop U.S. factories from moving south of the border and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. The peso tumbled to a record low at 21.15 per U.S. dollar on Friday.

"We’re optimistic that, based on our experience, there are differences between what a candidate says and the proposals of a president," Carreno, the former spokesman of Citigroup Inc.’s local Banamex unit, said in a phone interview from Mexico City on Thursday. "I think Trump will find that Mexican Americans contribute to the U.S. economy with their taxes, their work and their talent. Eventually between the two countries we’re going to find shared solutions."

Trump wasn’t the first candidate to bash Nafta on the U.S. campaign trail. The deal has been a target of presidential candidates ever since Ross Perot warned of a "giant sucking sound" pulling jobs south across the Rio Grande river. Even President Obama called Nafta "devastating" and "a big mistake" in 2008 and pledged to renegotiate the pact.

Carreno said he’ll travel to Texas at the start of next week to meet with Mexican consuls in the state, and that he and Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz will meet with the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles later in the week.

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