According to senior officials, Mexico will not let U.S. President-elect Donald Trump dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) without a fight.
Those officials say that the Mexican government is preparing for talks with Trump when he assumes office in January and that they intend to use Trump's hot-button campaign issues of border security and immigration as leverage against him in order to protect their own interests in preserving NAFTA, reports Fox News.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has recruited his aide, former finance minister Luis Videgaray, to help him handle Trump, three sources said. Videgaray helped arrange the widely-criticized meeting between Pena Nieto and Trump in Mexico city in August and might be in the running for Mexico's foreign minister, those sources explained.
Among the issues that Pena Nieto and his team will highlight with Trump are border security, not only between Mexico and the U.S. but also between Mexico and Guatemala, which the U.S. could help secure from southern migrants.
Mexico has a major area of negotiation that could make Trump reconsider tossing out NAFTA: the wall. Though Trump has softened his position on illegal immigration, raising questions about whether or not he will deport certain groups of undocumented immigrants, such as children who have grown up in the U.S., he has remained firm about building a wall to separate the U.S.-Mexico border, notes The New York Times. Mexican leaders have said repeatedly that their country would not pay to construct the "big, beautiful wall" that Trump promised his supporters, leaving them a bargaining chip with the future leader of the U.S.
Mexico may also consider amending NAFTA on issues like labor standards that would assuage U.S. fears about inexpensive Mexican workers, sources told Fox News. The goal, said Victor Giorgana, a congressman in Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, is to set as many bargaining chips on the table as possible.
"It can't just be about one issue, as that would put us at a disadvantage," said Giorgana, according to Fox News.