The leaders of Brazil and Argentina said on Tuesday they would pursue closer ties with Mexico and other Latin American nations alarmed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s promises to tear apart trade deals and build a wall to protect American jobs.
In a state visit to Brasilia, Argentina President Mauricio Macri said that South American regional trade bloc Mercosur would focus on strengthening its relationship with Mexico, Latin America’s second-largest economy after Brazil.
Trump has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that aimed to bolster trade between 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Mexico, Chile and Peru.
In his campaign to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States, Trump has also threatened to slap higher taxes on U.S. companies opening new plants abroad and promised to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Tensions are running particularly high with Mexico after Trump ordered the construction of a wall along its 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border with the United States to stop illegal immigration.
Those moves were hailed by Macri, who came to power in 2015 on a business-friendly program, and his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer as an opportunity to deepen trade ties within Latin America, long overshadowed by Washington’s economic might.