WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump talked on the phone on Monday with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, winner of Sunday’s presidential elections in Mexico, about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the possibility of a separate agreement between the two countries.
Trump said they had “a lot of good conversation” that lasted about half an hour: “We talked about border security, we talked about trade, we talked about (the North American Free Trade Agreement), we talked about a separate deal just Mexico and the United States,” Trump said in a statement to the press at the White House.
“I think the relationship will be a very good one. We’ll see what happens, but I really do believe it’s going to be a very good one,” Trump said after beginning his meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Trump, who in recent months has complained that Mexico does nothing to help the United States on their common border, predicted that Lopez Obrador would lend a hand with his priorities of security and immigration.
In the past, Trump has complained that “our immigration laws in this country are a total disaster. They’re laughed at all over the world… and we have to have strong immigration laws.”
His most recent statement seems to show a belief that Lopez Obrador is perfectly willing to help in the matter.
For his part, Lopez Obrador said “we are conscious of the need to maintain good relations with the United States. We have a border of more than 3,000 kilometers; more than 12 million Mexicans live in the United States. It is our main economic-commercial partner.”
“We are not going to fight,” he added. “We are always going to seek for there to be an agreement. We are going to extend our frank hand to seek a relation of friendship, I repeat, of cooperation with the United States.”
Despite the apparent optimism of both, one of Trump’s advisors, Kellyanne Conway, brought up once again Monday one of the great points of tension between the two countries.
“In the case of Mexico, obviously we share a border with them (and) this president has made very clear about building that wall and having Mexico pay for it,” Conway said on the Fox News channel.