The man proposed to be Mexico’s next foreign minister said Monday that the United States government under President Donald Trump has treated Mexico badly.
Marcelo Ebrard said one of his goals will be to look for areas of common understanding with the U.S. government.
“Taking harder positions is always going to be easier,” Ebrard said on Radio Formula. “The treatment that we have received by the United States has been terrible. Mexico and Mexicans have received very bad treatment.”
Ebrard did not offer examples of the bad treatment, but Trump has railed against Mexico since the start of his campaign, when he accused the neighbor of sending rapists and drug traffickers. He has repeatedly promised that Mexico will pay for a border wall between the two countries and threatened to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement if the U.S. doesn’t get a better deal.
Ebrard said President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s landslide victory July 1 will help in talks with the U.S. because it shows he has a mandate for change.
Lopez Obrador has said he’ll name Ebrard foreign minister after his Dec. 1 inauguration.
Ebrard and Lopez Obrador are scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo Friday in Mexico City.
Ebrard said Pompeo’s meeting was “courtesy” and a first opportunity to discuss the binational agenda.
He said he would coordinate with the current administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto to avoid undercutting positions that Mexico has taken in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But he added: “We have to look for how to better defend Mexico’s interests.”
Lopez Obrador at an event later Monday with business leaders repeated a pledge to build a new oil refinery “so that we can stop buying gasoline abroad.”
Most of that gasoline is purchased from the U.S. as Mexico’s production and refinery capacity have flagged in recent years.