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Slim Speaks Up on Trump

Dan Jones

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim spoke out Friday against President Trump's plan to build a wall on the Southern border of the US and levy a 20% tax on imports, as relations between the neighboring countries remained tense.

Slim spoke Friday afternoon in Mexico City about the week's developments after Trump had reiterated that he would move to build a border wall and pay for it by levying tariffs on Mexican imports into the US. Mexico is currently the third-largest goods trading partner with the US, with $531 billion in total goods trade during 2015, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Slim offered to help Mexico negotiate with Trump over the border issues. He, however, said at the press conference that "the best wall is trade and economic growth," as various observers on Twitter noted. "The circumstances in the United States are very favorable for Mexico," Slim reportedly said, suggesting that Trump's intended infrastructure -- in particular -- would be good for the Mexican economy and Mexican workers in the US.

Slim, who in part made his fortune through his telecom assets and sales in the nineties and the 21st century, called Trump a "negotiator." (See Eurobites: Carlos Slim Lands Telekom Austria.)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), in particular, is likely to be watching the potential economic implications of a trade war between the US and Mexico with interest. The second-largest US wireless operator has spent nearly $8 billion on deploying an LTE network in Mexico over the last couple of years. (See AT&T Commits $3B More to Mexico.)

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson highlighted possible tariffs as something that the operator didn't "have a good handle" on yet, in a generally upbeat assessment of the new US president.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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