June 6, 2018 / 2:15 AM / 4 months ago

Mexico's leftist presidential front-runner meets with business leaders

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s leftist presidential front-runner met on Tuesday with leaders of the country’s biggest companies in a session the candidate described as cordial and productive, despite the anxiety his campaign has generated in the business community.

Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) delivers a speech to supporters during his campaign rally in Mexico City, Mexico June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has a double-digit lead in most opinion polls ahead of the July 1 vote, spoke in the capital with members of the Consejo Mexicano de Negocios, a trade group that represents the country’s biggest companies across a range of sectors.

The meeting touched on topics including the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada, corruption and job creation, Lopez Obrador said.

The former Mexico City mayor, who is in his third campaign for the presidency, has drawn opposition from some in the business community for his plans to revise oil contracts and an airport under construction in Mexico City. But the candidate stressed that the meeting was constructive.

“It was a very good meeting with good results for the future of our country,” Lopez Obrador told reporters. “We are going to have a cooperative relationship between the private and public sectors.”

The meeting was attended by executives including Carlos Slim Domit, son of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and chairman of telecommunications company America Movil; Emilio Azcarraga, chairman of broadcaster Televisa; and German Larrea, chairman of miner Grupo Mexico.

A spokesman for America Movil declined to comment. A spokesman for Televisa and a spokeswoman for Grupo Mexico did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Juan Pablo Castanon, president of the Business Coordinating Council, said the meeting signaled the business community’s willingness to work with Lopez Obrador.

“The open and sincere dialogue shows a goodwill to smooth things over,” he said on local radio.

Castanon added that the business leaders had met with the other candidates as well.

Lopez Obrador said that if he won the election, the business officials agreed to meet with him again to work on an economic development plan.

“There will be agreements to stimulate development, create jobs,” he said. “Many of the problems that we have (in Mexico) have originated because there wasn’t growth in the economy.”

Reporting by Julia Love and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Peter Cooney

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