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Mexico: Trade, Security, Migration Issues with U.S.‘On the Table’

Mexico says it is willing to throw its relationship with the U.S. wide open as it as it seeks to avoid a major economic shock while grappling with a Trump administration.

Trump has threatened to tear up a trade agreement that underpins Mexico's export model unless the country renegotiate terms in Trump's favor. This has battered the peso, Mexico's currency and is fueling uncertainty over foreign investment.

In a speech to diplomats Wednesday in Mexico City, President Enrique Peña Nieto said the country would take a broad approach to the challenge, seeking a settlement that would benefit both Mexico and the United States as he looks to carve out a platform that gives him room for maneuver in talks.

"All the issues that define our bilateral relationship are on the table, including security, migration and trade," Peña Nieto said in a speech to diplomats in Mexico City, sketching out his negotiating position for the first time.

Reuters reported last month that Mexico's government aimed to use security and migration to gain leverage over the United States in its talks with Trump, and could offer to reinforce its borders to get a better deal on trade.

Peña Nieto said Mexico would invest in a more secure border, but repeated his posture that it would not pay for the border wall Trump plans to build.

During the campaign, Trump threatened to have Mexico fund the wall by blocking remittances from Mexicans living in the United States. Peña Nieto said he would work to ensure those funds continued to flow freely across the border.

Peña Nieto said the U.S. government shared responsibility for migrants seeking to reach the United States, and should also work to stop the southward flow of weapons and illicit funds that help finance Mexican organized crime.

Mexican officials point to a jump in deportations of illegal immigrants under Peña Nieto, and to the country's importance in working with U.S. law enforcement to combat rising U.S. demand for lethal drugs such as heroin smuggled in from Mexico.

If Trump seeks to hurt Mexico on trade, there is little incentive for the Mexican government to go out of its way on behalf of the United States on other issues, they argue.

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