Mexico said on Thursday it had called U.S. President Donald Trump’s bluff over his suggestion he only decided to stay in the North American Free Trade Agreement as a favor to the leaders of Mexico and Canada after they asked him to renegotiate the deal.
However, Mexico’s government said it had sent a very different message to the United States during a crisis over NAFTA’s future late last month, when Trump considered starting the six-month process for withdrawing from the accord.
“The message was: if you guys think we’re going to start negotiations with the trigger pulled on a U.S. exit in six months, forget about it!” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told an audience at the Mexico Business Forum.
“If you do that, just get out already—because there’s no way we’re negotiating under those conditions,” he said.
Guajardo said talk of the United States preparing to leave NAFTA was likely part of a strategy to press Congress to approve Trump’s pick for U.S. trade representative.