LOS ANGELES TIMES: On the eve of the second round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexican officials have publicly signaled a tougher negotiating stance in the face of renewed threats from President Trump to scrap the trade pact.

In essence, Mexico appears to be calling Trump’s bluff, calculating that a NAFTA withdrawal would likely trigger a backlash in the United States — where agriculture and other key economic sectors benefit significantly from the accord.

NAFTA has become highly politicized issue here as Trump has ramped up his attacks on the trade pact, which he has long assailed as a job-killing, factory-shuttering disaster for the U.S.

“We’re working right now on NAFTA, the horrible, terrible NAFTA deal that took so much business out of your state and out of your cities and towns,” Trump told an audience Wednesday in Missouri.

“We gotta change this deal,” Trump continued. “And hopefully we can renegotiate it, and if we can’t, we’ll terminate it and we’ll start all over again with a real deal.”

In response, Mexican leaders have upped the ante, indicating that the nation may have to contemplate what was once unthinkable — life without NAFTA, which has been a cornerstone of Mexico’s economic strategy since it took effect in 1994, strengthening the economic ties between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

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Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this news clip shows Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s foreign secretary.