Slim says Trump is no 'Terminator'

Former President Felipe Calderon said Thursday that "we have to design a policy of retaliation" for Trump's proposed plans, which include making Mexico pay for the border wall he wants to build.

Donald Trump's combative style has buffeted Mexico's president for months, but deeply unpopular Enrique Pena Nieto may end up thanking the new USA president for prompting offended Mexicans to rally behind their leader. The discussion capped a week that saw relations between the neighboring nations plunge into the biggest diplomatic crisis in decades as Pena Nieto vowed that Mexico will never pay for the border barrier.

Mexico's president cancelled an upcoming visit Thursday after Trump signed an order jump-starting construction of his promised U.S. -Mexico border wall.

Trump's broadsides against Mexico have put President Enrique Pena Nieto under rising domestic pressure.

He called for a "modern, not protectionist" national programme of substituting imported products, the vast majority of which come from the United States, but stopped short of calling for a boycott of American goods.

Mr Trump later presented the scrapped plan as a mutual agreement.

Mexico and the United States will be stuck at an impasse unless they solve Trump's "unacceptable" demand of payment for the border wall, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Friday.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled US Congress said on Thursday they planned to move ahead on funding the border wall, which they projected would cost between US$12 billion and US$15 billion.

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The White House left open the door for a possible rapprochement: White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the United States was keeping open lines of communication with Mexico and looking to reschedule the meeting, which had been planned for Tuesday. In the meantime, US taxpayer dollars will be put toward construction of the wall.

Just back in Mexico from failed talks in Washington, Guajardo also expressed concern about Trump's "unpredictability" and habits on Twitter. Look, we can not lose our companies to Mexico or any other place and then have them make the product and just send it across our borders free.

Trump's threats to impose steep tariffs on Mexican products have ravaged the peso and spread worries about the economy, which is heavily dependent on the U.S. market.

Slim, who had criticized Trump during the presidential campaign, had dinner with the fellow billionaire in Florida in December after Trump's election victory.

Spicer said Trump was looking at taxing imports on all countries the USA has trade deficits with, but he added, "Right now we are focused on Mexico".

"There is an atmosphere of crisis in the United States and it is going to last a long time".

"This is the most surprising example of national unity that I've had the pleasure of seeing in my life", said Slim, who turned 77 yesterday.

  • Darren Santiago