Listen to this article
The Mexican peso pushed higher on Wednesday after Donald Trump’s top trade adviser issued upbeat remarks on the country, toning down the administration’s often heated rhetoric regarding America’s neighbour to the south.
Peter Navarro, head of the White House trade council and seen as a confidant to Mr Trump on trade matters, told Bloomberg that he can foresee a regional manufacturing “powerhouse” that would include the US, Mexico and Canada.
“We have a tremendous opportunity, with Mexico in particular, to use higher rules of origin to develop a mutually beneficial regional powerhouse where workers and manufacturers on both sides of the border will benefit enormously,” he said.
A key tenet of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign was bringing back factory jobs from low-cost centres like Mexico, and he has pushed hard on companies to bring production back to the US from the Latin American country. He has also vowed to build a wall at the southern US border to curb illegal immigration from Mexico.
Mr Trump has also strenuously objected to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which ties together the three countries Mr Navarro mentioned together — calling it “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed”.
Mr Navarro’s comments appeared to imply that the White House may be taking a somewhat lighter stance on trade.
The peso was up by 1 per cent on the US dollar to MXN19.48 shortly after Mr Navarro’s remarks. It has rallied by 6.4 per cent against the buck this year, but remains down by 5.9 per cent since election day.