One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s most protectionist trade advisers struck a more conciliatory tone with Mexico on Wednesday, saying he wanted the two countries and Canada to form a regional manufacturing “powerhouse” with stricter rules of origin.
White House National Economic Council Director Peter Navarro’s comments on Bloomberg News helped boost Mexico’s peso to nearly its highest level since Trump’s election last November.
The comments indicate that Navarro, a strong voice behind Trump’s calls during the campaign for steep tariffs on goods from Mexico and China to help reduce U.S. trade deficits, was now seeking to cooperate with Mexico to the benefit of both countries. Navarro said he wanted to strengthen manufacturing in the three countries through renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Navarro said the 23-year-old trade pact could be transformed into two parallel U.S. bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico, or a modernization of the current trilateral deal.