While United States President Donald Trump reassured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week in Washington that the U.S. has “a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada” and mentioned he viewed their meeting as an opportunity to “build even more bridges” of commerce, his remarks made no attempt to reassure its other North American partner — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“[The state of Canada’s manufacturing sector is] a much less severe situation than what’s taking place on the southern border,” remarked Trump in a joint press conference on Feb. 13. “On the southern border, for many, many years the transaction was not fair to the United States.”
The three heads of state, often referred to as the “three amigos,” have had their shares of ups and downs (not long ago Peña Nieto refused to attend a summit in Canada while a visa restriction imposed under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper remained in place). But this past June, with Barack Obama still in the White House, the three happily shook hands in Ottawa.
Today’s dynamic could not paint a more different picture, with Peña Nieto so far the foreign leader that has fared worst under a Trump presidency.
Back in late August, a half-baked attempt at bilateral dialogue by inviting then-candidate Trump to visit Mexico completely backfired on Peña Nieto and he was strongly criticized for acquiescing to the inflammatory Republican candidate.
Furthermore, the pre-emptive visit with Trump seems to have done little to change the president’s stance on Mexico. Since taking office, Trump’s insistence on Mexico footing the bill for a border wall has quickly devolved into threats of a trade war between deeply intertwined partners. (Mexico is the U.S.’s third largest trading partner, while more than three quarters of Mexican trade involves its northern neighbour.)
In late January, Peña Nieto hastily cancelled a scheduled official visit to the White House after Trump tweeted his continued intent to somehow force Mexico to pay for the wall. As Peña Nieto and Trump went at it on Twitter, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray was in the States trying to appease nervous business leaders, who he fears would pull investments out of Mexico due to Trump’s protectionist views.
Where does the Canadian government stand on the issue?
Read the whole story on Open Canada