Having oriented its economic co-operation towards North America over recent years, Mexico is forced to re-orient itself towards its southern neighbors following the election of Donald Trump, analyst Alfredo Jalife-Rahme told Sputnik Mundo.
Mexico "made a big mistake when it relied entirely on NAFTA without any guarantees," he said, adding that Mexican industry will turn out to be "superfluous" once Trump has implemented his protectionist economic policies.
Trump, who has already pulled out of the TPP free trade agreement, has promised to renegotiate NAFTA, a three-way free trade accord established by Canada, Mexico and the US in 1994.
"Trumpism is aiming for an industrial model that rivals the Mexican one. In addition, he is going to introduce a 20 percent border tax. This is a trade war, and protectionism is making the Mexican government, a supporter of free trade and neoliberalism, look in any other direction."
Although Trump and US critics characterize NAFTA as having given Mexico an advantage, in fact the Central American country also bore its share of negative consequences. For example, much of the income in the first few years of the trade deal came from drug trafficking, Jalife-Rahme said.
"If we look closely at the figures, these revenues reached about $165 billion. In second place are remittances of about $25 billion."
The analyst described Mexico as a "post-agricultural country" with a "destroyed" industrial complex, which is unsuited to a free trade agreement with "a country like the US, which occupies a post-industrial, high-tech level of development."
According to a 2015 report by the Migration Policy Institute, there were approximately 23.2 million Mexican immigrants and their children living in the US. Jalife-Rahme calls them "economic refugees," not migrants, because economic hardship forced them to leave.
The NAFTA free trade agreement has left "35 percent of the population, former peasants, in agricultural poverty. These people emigrated to the US because they didn't have another choice to find prosperity because this free trade agreement destroyed them," the analyst said.