In a meeting with US executives, President Donald Trump remarked that companies that sent jobs outside of the United States would have to pay a "major border tax," a move that could impact the imports of America’s main trading partner, Mexico.
During a Monday interview with the El Universal newspaper, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said that, "If there is any action that punishes imports to the North American market and encourages US exports, you have to reflect it in a mirror action to counteract the change of incentives that this would make for activity and investment in Mexico."
This follows Trump’s announcement on Sunday that he would enter discussions to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Mexican and Canadian governments. Trump is expected to sign an executive order to that end as early as Monday.
In a recent White House statement the Trump administration declared, "If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA."
As part of his "America First" orientation, Trump also vowed to go after nations that violate trade agreements and "harm American workers in the process."
Mexico has expressed a willingness to renegotiate the deal with Washington, but said that it would not talk specifics until the US clarifies its position. "The dialogue has not yet begun, we cannot get ahead of ourselves," Guajardo said.
Although US exports increased 258 percent under NAFTA, creating a surplus of manufactured and agricultural goods, Trump has called it "one of the worst deals ever,” blaming the agreement for the decimation of America’s manufacturing sector.
Ahead of his October 2016 debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump tweeted, "I will renegotiate NAFTA. If I can’t make a great deal, we’re going to tear it up. We’re going to get this economy running again."
"Counter to the incoming Trump administration's goal of creating manufacturing jobs, the withdrawal from NAFTA or the implementation of punitive tariffs could result in the loss of 31,000 US jobs," said the Center for Automotive Research, in a statement.
Trump also signed an executive order Monday withdrawing the participation of the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Though the deal was not expected to pass Congress, Trump said that pulling out of the deal was a "great thing for the American worker."