By Agence France-Presse
US-Mexican relations are “very good,” Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday, as his American counterpart Donald Trump embarked on a visit to the border, which he has threatened to close.
“I would tell all Mexican and foreign investors and those participating in financial markets to stay calm, that our relationship with the government of the United States is very good,” Lopez Obrador told a press conference.
Trump has caused market jitters with his threats to close the border over what he calls a “national emergency”: the flow of migrants and narcotics from Mexico into the United States.
On Thursday, he backed down from his threat to close the border this week.
But Trump said he would impose 25 percent tariffs on vehicles imported from Mexico if Lopez Obrador’s government did not crack down on irregular migration and drug trafficking — and then go ahead with a border closure if that did not work.
Trump flew Friday to the border city of Calexico, California, where he was due to inspect a new section of high fencing for the border barrier he has promised to build.
Protesters were marching to heckle him from Mexicali, Mexico, across the border, toting a giant balloon of a baby Trump clad in a diaper.
Mexico, which sends more than 80 percent of its exports to the United States, urged Trump on Thursday not to mix the migration issue into the countries’ massive trade relationship.
The two countries and Canada signed an updated trade deal in November, the USMCA, which is awaiting ratification by legislatures in all three countries.
“The free trade agreement is going to be ratified. There is no problem on the economic nor the financial front. On the contrary,” Lopez Obrador said.
The US-Mexican border is one of the busiest in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people and $1.7 billion in goods flow across it every day.