Mexico Braces for Trump Presidency

MEXICO CITY - As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office Friday, a recent newspaper headline here summed up the weariness among Mexicans and many Texas border residents: Peso stresses over Trump.An anxious nation and border in near panic mode await Trump, with many here pinning hopes on Texas and other states to stand up for their neighbor with a reminder: economic integration - largely through the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA - has been mutually beneficial. No other state is bigger, more economically and culturally tied to Mexico than Texas, so much so that some half joke that messing with Mexico and its peso, which has fallen to its weakest level in two decades, is akin to messing with Texas. There's a Don't Mess with "Mexas," sign in Austin, one that Mexican Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez says is key for Mexico's own survival."We expect Texas to step up to the plate and stand up for Mexico," said Gonzalez Gutierrez during a break from a recent meeting among foreign diplomats in Mexico City that turned into a strategy session on how to deal with challenges ahead under Trump. "Texas is caught in the middle between rhetoric and reality. In the end, we expect Texas to look at its own bottom line and do what is good for the state. Texas is the big winner with NAFTA and will be the big winner with energy reform. The most natural thing to expect is that Texans will be the natural partners in protecting NAFTA and Mexico."For more than 30 years, and at the behest of U.S. leaders, Mexico transformed its economy to one of the most open economies in the world. In fact, Mexico has largely built its economy around NAFTA, relying on the United States for more than one-third of its jobs, many of them poorly paid, but enough to help slow down the flow of illegal migration to the United States to historic lows. Republican-led Texas has been the biggest beneficiary of that trade policy.Nearly 5 million jobs in the United States depend on trade with Mexico. About half a million jobs in Texas depend on exports to Mexico. Texas exports close to $100 billion in goods to Mexico, almost 40 percent of its total exports. Border communities from El Paso to Brownsville, seaports like Houston, Galveston, and cities along the 1-35 corridor have benefited, according to a report by the Dallas Federal Reserve Board.  Continue reading...

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