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Mexico will never pay for Trump wall: Mexican economy minister

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo speaks during an interview with Reuters at the 11th World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

(reuters_tickers)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has made clear it will never pay for President Donald Trump's planned southern border wall, the country's economy minister said on Thursday, after the U.S. leader again insisted he would make Mexico pay for the barrier.

"The President of Mexico (Enrique Pena Nieto) has been very clear: Mexico will never pay for this wall," Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo wrote on Twitter after a day of meetings in Washington.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday that Mexico could pay for the wall, which he hopes will stem illegal immigration, "indirectly" through changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Trump has said he will withdraw from NAFTA if the accord cannot be renegotiated in favour of the United States.

Guajardo was in Washington for talks this week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over the modernization of NAFTA, according to a statement by Mexico's Economy Ministry.

Guajardo wrote on Twitter that the border wall had not been discussed at any time during his meetings with U.S. officials, nor in the negotiations over how to rework NAFTA.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Dave Graham and Daniel Wallis)

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