Mexico’s economic minister Ildefonso Guajardo warned that his country will walk away if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from south of the border.
“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,’ I get up from the table,” Guajardo told Bloomberg in an interview. “Bye-bye.”
The comments ratchet up Mexico’s threats to boycott a renegotiation of its 1994 trade deal with the United States and Canada if Trump insists on hardline changes.
Official talks are to expected to begin in June, despite both sides having already publicly expressed their positions. Trump has repeatedly faulted NAFTA for creating an imbalance that favors Mexico while Guajardo suggested it is a necessary to maintain a healthy trading relationship between the two countries. If talks do break down, the Mexican economy minister was quoted as saying “it wouldn’t be an absolute crisis.”
Trump has repeatedly trashed NAFTA — which also includes Canada — as unfair and responsible for a “massive” imbalance favoring Mexico. Leading Trump to suggest tariffs on imports from Mexico.
Last year Mexico shipped $294 billion worth of goods north while the U.S. sent $231 billion south. Trump has said America’s $60 billion trade deficit with Mexico proves NAFTA was a bad deal.
The White House and the Mexican government were not immediately available for comment.