MEXICO CITY—President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet at near-annual North American summit to downplay mutual grievances on migration and trade and
Leaders proposed a united front on Tuesday, even though Biden has made the restoration of alliances a cornerstone of his foreign policy agenda.
Tensions were front and center when Biden and Lopez Obrador met on Monday, with the Mexican president pleading for “abandonment” and “contempt” for Latin America.
But leaders expressed optimism as they wrapped up Tuesday’s summit in Mexico City with a joint press conference.
“The three of us are true partners,” Biden said, adding that they had “something like the real thing” in each other. We share the vision of
Lopez Obrador has urged Biden to “advocate” Congress to legalize illegal Mexican immigration to work in an industry where U.S. employers are having such a hard time finding enough workers.
The trilateral meeting is often called the “Three Friends Summit”, referring to the deep diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries.
But leaders are at odds as they struggle to handle the influx of illegal immigrants and crack down on smugglers who profit from persuading people to make unsafe trips to the United States. There is
Additionally, Canada and the United States have accused Lopez Obrador of violating free trade agreements by prioritizing Mexico’s state-owned power company over power plants built by foreign and private investors. Lopez Obrador is concerned that Biden is trying to boost domestic manufacturing, raising concerns that US neighbors could be left behind.
In a one-on-one meeting with Biden, Trudeau emphasized the benefits of free trade and warned him against the Buy America policy being pursued by the US government, according to the prime minister’s office. With almost 80% of Canada’s exports destined for the United States, avoiding protectionism remains a priority for Canada.
The key takeaways from the summit are better ties among the three countries and pledges to reduce energy, especially semiconductors, climate and methane emissions, and an agreement to manage the mass immigration coming to the United States. It revolves around the common goal of a stronger North America. Regions and more cohesive regional strategies to address future pandemic-related health threats.
During Monday’s meeting, Lopez Obrador called on Biden to improve life across the region, saying, “You have the keys in your hands.”
“It’s time to resolve this abandonment, disdain and forgetfulness towards Latin America and the Caribbean,” Lopez Obrador said.
Biden responded by pointing out the billions of dollars the US spends on foreign aid around the world.
At the outset of Tuesday’s Biden-Trudeau meeting, the leaders spoke friendly and optimistic. Trudeau called the U.S. president “Joe,” and Biden joked that he should have paid more attention in college French classes after the Canadian leader issued a statement to reporters in English and French.
Biden and Trudeau also discussed national efforts to help Ukraine some 11 months after Russia’s aggression. Canada announced on Tuesday that it would purchase a US-made National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) to donate to Ukraine. A medium-range ground-based air defense system that defends against drone, missile and aircraft attack costs about $406 million, making Canada’s contribution to Ukraine since the start of the war more than her $1 billion. .
In a statement, the White House said leaders also discussed “intergenerational opportunities to strengthen the supply chains of critical minerals, electric vehicles and semiconductors.” The administration also announced that Mr Biden would be the first president to visit Canada in March.
“There are many reasons to be optimistic, especially for the people of our country,” Trudeau said. “But it will take a lot of work. It’s something most citizens have never feared.”
Biden and Lopez Obrador haven’t been on particularly good terms over the past two years. Last year, Mexican leaders skipped the Americas summit in Los Angeles after Biden did not invite the authoritarian leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
But despite the tension, there was cooperation. The United States and Mexico also reached a deal on significant immigration changes, which Mr. Biden announced last week.
Under this plan, the United States will repatriate 30,000 immigrants who entered the United States illegally each month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela. Illegal immigrants arriving from these four countries cannot easily return to their home countries for a variety of reasons.
In addition, 30,000 people each month from these four countries who obtain sponsorship, background checks, and flights to the United States can legally work in the United States for two years.
The number of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has increased dramatically in Mr. Biden’s first two years in office. His one-year stoppages through September 30 put him over 2.38 million, the first time he topped 2 million.
Lopez Obrador spoke at length about Mexico’s efforts to control the flow of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, into the United States that has become a disaster for many American communities. It said it had given military control of the seaport to help stop the precursor chemical.
“We’re fighting fentanyl and these chemicals, but we’re doing it because we care. No one is foreign to us,” he said. “It is really important to us that we can help with the fentanyl deaths that are happening in the United States. We will suffer too, so we need to act in concert.”
Canada is under pressure from the United States and other allies to lead an international mission to Haiti to help resolve the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis.
Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the country’s Council of Ministers announced on October 7 the “immediate deployment of special forces in sufficient quantities” to halt the crisis partly caused by “criminal acts of armed groups”. I submitted an urgent request. But more than three months have passed since then, and no country has made a step forward.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday called the situation “heartbreaking.” Both he and Biden said they would work with the UN Security Council to help the Caribbean nation, but were wary of direct intervention.
“We need to ensure that solutions are driven by the Haitian people themselves,” Trudeau said.