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Future of Mexico-U.S. ties uncertain, experts say

Insights2018-07-11

The future of Mexico-U.S. ties, once President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office in December, is uncertain but off to a promising start, analysts said."I don't know how the relationship between the two politicians is going to be," said political observer Mario Ojeda Revah, a research professor at the Institute for Historic Research at Mexico's National Autonomous University, referring to the relationship between Lopez Obrador and U.S. President Donald Trump.Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaks at a news conference in Mexico City on July 3.Bilateral ties have hit several rough spots since Trump took office in January 2017 with an agenda to erect a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out undocumented migrants, and to renegotiate trade ties that he believes have unfairly benefited Mexico over the past two decades.Last year, Lopez Obrador said Trump's pursuit of a "big, beautiful" border wall fanned "racism and xenophobia" to beef up support among his base.Meanwhile, the day after winning the July 1 elections by a landslide, Lopez Obrador spoke with Trump by telephone about border and trade issues that he hoped the two countries can resolve together.There's common ground between them, Ojeda told Xinhua, noting both men are economic nationalists who agree the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, should be revised."I think that given their nature and temperament, one would expect explosive ties. But then reality belies expectation and it turns out that two such strong personalities can have a smooth relationship," said Ojeda.Rodrigo Salazar, coordinator of the master's program in government and public affairs at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute in Mexico, is also unsure of the direction bilateral ties will take, but said it was important that they have got off to a good start.In a Twitter post, Trump was one of the first international leaders to congratulate Lopez Obrador on election night. He then called the following day and the two spoke for half an hour.According to Salazar, "in terms of personal relations ... it was a very good gesture that Trump made towards Lopez Obrador. It was such a good gesture that it was even strange," given Trump's at times desultory attitude towards others.During their conversation, Lopez Obrador agreed to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will be traveling to Mexico City on Friday, mainly to talk about NAFTA and immigration.Ties with the United States, Mexico's biggest trade partner, are important to Mexico, Lopez Obrador has said, adding "we want there to be a relationship of friendship and cooperation for development."One of Lopez Obrador's main advantages, said Ojeda, will be his ability to secure over 53 percent of the vote, the highest percentage won by a Mexican candidate in decades. That shows he has ample grassroots support to carry out his policies and reforms, and to forge new ties with the United States.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

The future of Mexico-U.S. ties, once President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office in December, is uncertain but off to a promising start, analysts said.

"I don't know how the relationship between the two politicians is going to be," said political observer Mario Ojeda Revah, a research professor at the Institute for Historic Research at Mexico's National Autonomous University, referring to the relationship between Lopez Obrador and U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaks at a news conference in Mexico City on July 3.

Bilateral ties have hit several rough spots since Trump took office in January 2017 with an agenda to erect a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out undocumented migrants, and to renegotiate trade ties that he believes have unfairly benefited Mexico over the past two decades.

Last year, Lopez Obrador said Trump's pursuit of a "big, beautiful" border wall fanned "racism and xenophobia" to beef up support among his base.

Meanwhile, the day after winning the July 1 elections by a landslide, Lopez Obrador spoke with Trump by telephone about border and trade issues that he hoped the two countries can resolve together.

There's common ground between them, Ojeda told Xinhua, noting both men are economic nationalists who agree the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada, should be revised.

"I think that given their nature and temperament, one would expect explosive ties. But then reality belies expectation and it turns out that two such strong personalities can have a smooth relationship," said Ojeda.

Rodrigo Salazar, coordinator of the master's program in government and public affairs at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute in Mexico, is also unsure of the direction bilateral ties will take, but said it was important that they have got off to a good start.

In a Twitter post, Trump was one of the first international leaders to congratulate Lopez Obrador on election night. He then called the following day and the two spoke for half an hour.

According to Salazar, "in terms of personal relations ... it was a very good gesture that Trump made towards Lopez Obrador. It was such a good gesture that it was even strange," given Trump's at times desultory attitude towards others.

During their conversation, Lopez Obrador agreed to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will be traveling to Mexico City on Friday, mainly to talk about NAFTA and immigration.

Ties with the United States, Mexico's biggest trade partner, are important to Mexico, Lopez Obrador has said, adding "we want there to be a relationship of friendship and cooperation for development."

One of Lopez Obrador's main advantages, said Ojeda, will be his ability to secure over 53 percent of the vote, the highest percentage won by a Mexican candidate in decades. That shows he has ample grassroots support to carry out his policies and reforms, and to forge new ties with the United States.

(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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