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Mexico leftist presidential hopeful plans U.S. tour

MEXICO CITY Mexican presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador plans to tour major U.S. cities in February, just as the current government embarks on negotiations with President Donald Trump that could determine the country’s economic future.

“Enough of being passive,” Lopez Obrador’s leftist Morena party said in a statement. “We should put a national emergency plan in place to face the damage and reverse the protectionist policies of Donald Trump.”

Lopez Obrador, a populist known as AMLO, is leading in most early polls ahead of Mexico’s 2018 presidential elections.

Morena, which he founded after breaking with Mexico’s main leftist party, has vowed to fight corruption, disrupt a sweeping reform of the key energy sector and promote a more nationalist vision for the country.

The White House website says that Trump is committed to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and would move to withdraw if no “fair deal” is forthcoming.

During his presidential campaign, Trump said he would block wire transfers out of the United States from Mexican nationals unless Mexico agreed to pay for a border wall.

On his tour, the former Mexico City mayor – who finished second in the 2012 presidential vote – will meet people of Mexican origin living in the Unites States in major cities, starting Feb. 12 in Los Angeles, then to Chicago, Phoenix and others.

Senior Mexican officials will hold meetings next week with Trump’s top aides in Washington, to discuss bilateral relations such as security, trade and migration.

(Reporting by Christine Murray, editing by G Crosse)

-Reuters