Mexico considers bill to revoke US treaties if Trump wins election

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) and US presidential candidate Donald Trump shake hands after a meeting in Mexico City on August 31, 2016. Donald Trump was expected in Mexico Wednesday to meet its president, in a move aimed at showing that despite the Republican White House hopeful's hardline opposition to illegal immigration he is no close-minded xenophobe. Trump stunned the political establishment when he announced late Tuesday that he was making the surprise trip south of the border to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, a sharp Trump critic. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (L) and US presidential candidate Donald Trump shake hands after a meeting in Mexico City on August 31, 2016.<br />Donald Trump was expected in Mexico Wednesday to meet its president, in a move aimed at showing that despite the Republican White House hopeful’s hardline opposition to illegal immigration he is no close-minded xenophobe. Trump stunned the political establishment when he announced late Tuesday that he was making the surprise trip south of the border to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, a sharp Trump critic.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ

Mexico is to consider revoking a series of bilateral treaties — including the 1848 agreement that transferred half its territory to the US — if the Republican candidate wins the presidency and rips up the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a bill to be presented to Congress.

The initiative, to be proposed on Tuesday by Armando Ríos Piter, a leftwing senator, follows last week’s much-criticised meeting between Mexico’s President Enrique Peña and the US presidential contender Donald Trump, which inflamed public opinion and sparked a cabinet rift.

Peña Nieto has faced a fierce backlash at home over what many saw as his red carpet treatment of Mr Trump, who has branded Mexicans “rapists” and wants to build a border wall that he insists Mexico will pay for.

“This is the first step towards establishing a public policy about how Mexico should react in the face of a threat,” Mr Ríos Piter told the Financial Times.

“This [bill] is simply to protect a successful 22-year-old relationship [Nafta] that has helped both nations. We want to defend that from a position that seeks to destroy it. We have to put it in black and white.”

The initiative is the idea of Agustín Barrios Gómez, a leftwing former legislator who now heads the Mexico Image Foundation, an organisation set up to improve foreign perceptions of the country.

It would make it illegal for Mexico to use official cash to fund the building of a border wall. If Mr Trump attempted to seize the $24bn in annual remittances from the US to Mexico to pay for it, the bill would empower Mexico to retaliate in kind by impounding the same sum, probably through a tax on flows heading in the other direction.

Furthermore, if Mr Trump made good on threats to scrap the 1994 Nafta free-trade deal — credited with creating one in three jobs in Mexico — it would call for a review all 75 bilateral treaties between the two countries to establish if they were in the national interests.

The only convincing response to precise threats is to stipulate by law what happens – Agustín Barrios Gómez, head of Mexico Image Foundation

That includes the 1848 Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement that ended the Mexican-American War, which transferred a huge swath of Mexican territory to the US, including what is now California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

“We don’t want this,” Mr Barrios Gómez said of the proposal. “But ripping up Nafta and wrecking a carefully forged relationship that goes far beyond trade to security would be ‘mutually assured destruction’.”



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