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Mexico Refuses To Negotiate NAFTA Over Twitter

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

The Mexican government said Sunday it will not negotiate trade agreements or any other aspect of its relationship with the U.S. over social media, following President Donald Trump’s tweetstorm attacking Mexico on NAFTA negotiations and the country’s rising drug violence.

In a statement dismissing Trump’s twitter provocations, Mexico’s foreign ministry said it would approach NAFTA negotiations in a “serious and constructive” manner.

“Mexico will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social media or any other news platform,” the ministry said.

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Mexico — and NAFTA partner Canada — was being “very difficult” in trilateral negotiations to update NAFTA, which began earlier this month and are set to resume in Mexico City in September. He also suggested he would follow through on previous threats to pull the U.S. out of the trade pact he called the “worst deal ever made.”

In a separate tweet, Trump hit on another favorite refrain: getting Mexico to pay for a wall on the southwest border. He said the wall is needed to contain Mexico’s worsening drug cartel violence, which has sent murder rates soaring to 20-year highs.

The president has repeatedly said Mexico will end up footing the bill for the wall, something his counterpart, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, has refused to consider. In its Sunday statement, the Mexican foreign ministry said it has no intention of making a deal to contribute funds to the wall.

“As the Mexican government has always stated, our country will not pay, under any circumstances, for a wall or physical barrier built on US territory along the Mexican border,” the ministry said. “This statement is not part of a Mexican negotiating strategy, but rather a principle of national sovereignty and dignity.”

Mexico also pushed back on Trump’s criticism of its crime problems, saying that one of the “root causes” of cartel violence there is high demand for drugs in the U.S. Both nations must work together to meet the challenge of reducing cross-border drug trafficking and violence, the foreign ministry said.

“Transnational criminal organizations have killed thousands of Mexicans, including members of the Armed Forces and police officers, and thousands of Americans,” Mexico City officials said. “Only on the basis of the principles of shared responsibility, teamwork and mutual trust will we be able to overcome this challenge.”

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