WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump telephoned Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday and assured him they will work well together, the US leader said in a Twitter post.
“Just spoke to President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. Great call, we will work well together!” tweeted Trump.
In a brief statement, the White House later confirmed that the two leaders had spoken, adding that both Trump and Lopez Obrador “expressed their pleasure with the (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) agreement and noted it would make the region stronger and more competitive.”
Last Sunday, the US, Canada and Mexico finalized their tripartite trade agreement – a revamping of the North American Free Trade Agreement – after tough negotiations during which it appeared that Ottawa might remain aloof from the final accord, although ultimately the trio were able to agree on the new conditions for trade among them.
Trump had demanded the renegotiation of NAFTA, in force since 1994, calling it a “disaster” for the US.
Although Mexico’s outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, will be able to claim the victory for having brought the NAFTA renegotiation to a successful conclusion before leaving office, Lopez Obrador has maintained an active profile by having conversations with both Trump and with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Lopez Obrador, a leftist, will take office on Dec. 1, and – despite the fact that tensions between the two countries have been high over Trump’s vow to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it, and Mexico’s categorical refusal to do so – the US leader has had nothing but praise for him recently.