The day after President-elect Donald Trump's surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto was quick to confirm that his country would not pay for Trump's plan to build a "huge" wall between the United States and Mexico.
Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu reiterated Pena Nieto’s statement, notes Reuters.
The proposed wall was one of Trump’s primary campaign promises, and one which was very popular among many of his supporters.
In response to Trump’s victory, the Mexican peso plunged 13 percent -- the biggest devaluation in 22 years. Another factor affecting the peso is Trump’s frequently-stated threat to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) agreement with Mexico and Canada, and to levy a tax on money sent to Mexico by its citizens who immigrate to the U.S.
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Considering these factors, financial analyst Gabriela Siller of Mexican bank BASE bluntly stated: "Very hard times are coming to Mexico."
Despite the tension between his government and Trump, President Pena Nieto said he called to congratulate the president-elect, adding that the two had agreed to meet to discuss joint cooperation between the two countries.
Trump's victory speech included a stated pledge to seek "common ground" and partnership with other countries, which Pena Nieto responded to favorably in a statement on Mexican television. "Dialogue to make agreements is still the best route for Mexico, and my government will seek opportunities that benefit both nations in this new phase of bilateral relations," he said.
Trump has described his proposed wall as being an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall,” as quoted by the BBC.
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In the estimate of Ali F. Rhuzkan, a New York-based structural engineer, a wall that covered all 1,900 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border would require three times more concrete than the Hoover Dam.
Trump has estimated the total cost of building it at $12 billion. A study by The Washington Post, however, puts the figure closer to $25 billion.