A day after the US President signed a directive to forge ahead with the building of a wall on the US-Mexico border, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled his planned meeting with Trump in Washington.
The Jan. 31 meeting was canceled by Pena Nieto hours after Trump took the matter to Twitter with a tweet stating that the meeting should be scrapped if Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall. “This morning we have informed the White House I will not attend the working meeting planned for next Tuesday,” the Associate Press reported President Pena Nieto as saying.
Later, Trump presented the scrapped plan as a mutual agreement. Addressing Republican members of Congress at a meeting in Philadelphia, he said he and Pena Nieto had agreed to cancel the meeting, adding it would be fruitless if Mexico did not treat the United States “fairly”, Reuters reported.
Mexico has continually said it would not pay for the wall, while Trump has repeatedly claimed he would make Mexico pay for it, but without providing any details on how he would force them to do so.
Relations with the US neighbor had been tense during Trump’s campaign, dating back to 2015, when trump characterized Mexican migrants as murders and rapists. Trump has also called for a renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement. Mexican currency has fallen in wake of Trump’s stiff policies with the peso falling sharply against the dollar. The US has a $60 million trade deficit with Mexico. Renegotiating NAFTA would like hurt Mexico’s economy even more.
The Republican-controlled Congress announced they were ready to move forward with the funding of the border wall, which they estimate will cost $12-$15 billion, although others estimated fall between $20-$25 billion. House Majority Leader Paul Ryan said he is not concerned about Washington’s relationship with Mexico. “I think we’ll be fine,” he touted.