“It is in the interests of the United States that Mexico fares well,” Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto said on 23 January while spelling out his strategy for talks with the administration of US President Donald Trump. Peña Nieto put the whole bilateral relationship on the table, thereby implicitly suggesting that if the US were to end free trade, it could not count upon Mexico’s cooperation in other key spheres of interest. Trump carried on regardless. Two days later he issued an executive order calling for construction of a border wall on the frontier with Mexico, leaving Peña Nieto scrambling to respond in a terse televised address, in the face of enormous domestic pressure to cancel a visit to Washington DC on 31 January to meet Trump.

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