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Two of Mexico’s top cabinet officials will arrive in Washington on Wednesday to meet with senior members of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray and Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo plan to discuss trade and immigration ahead of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit Trump on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
The Mexican delegation allegedly plans hard negotiations with the new administration following Trump’s reassertion of his “America First” strategy, which includes revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“We say Mexico First,” one diplomat told CNN reporters on Tuesday. “If they want to revisit the relationship, then we say, yes. Let’s see what they want, what they bring to the table and how it can better benefit us.”
The meetings are also scheduled the same day Trump is expected to sign an executive order for the construction of a U.S–Mexico border wall, which he claimed on the campaign trail Mexico would pay for.
NAFTA, in its current form, would not support the border tariffs by which Trump had suggested he would recover costs from Mexico. Pursuit of this agenda and Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric has strained ties between the two governments.
“We are coming to defend 25 years of unprecedented levels of cooperation,” another diplomat said to CNN. “There is a lot of anger that we have become this punching bag and because of the lack of context in portraying Mexicans through one negative lens.”
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.