President López Obrador, U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet at the White House next week for the first North American Leaders Summit since 2016.
The governments of all three countries announced the November 18 summit on Wednesday.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told López Obrador’s morning press conference that the three leaders were expected to meet for two hours next Thursday. He also said the president would have separate one-on-one meetings with Biden and Trudeau.
The main issues Mexico will raise at the trilateral summit are development cooperation for southern Mexico and Central America, “regional economic integration to promote investment in our country,” preparation for the next pandemic and “how to achieve fair economic recovery in 2022 and 2023,” Ebrard said.
The United States agreed in September to collaborate with Mexico on employment programs in the country’s south and Central America but hasn’t said how much financial support it will provide.
López Obrador, who proposed a global poverty-alleviation plan at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, said he didn’t expect that his proposed electricity reform – which favors the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission – would be a topic for discussion, even though U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar has recently raised concerns about it.
The White House said in a statement that the countries will reaffirm their strong ties and integration during the summit, “while also charting a new path for collaboration on ending the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing health security; competitiveness and equitable growth, to include climate change; and a regional vision for migration.”
It said “strengthening our partnership is essential to our ability to build back better, to revitalize our leadership, and to respond to a widening range of regional and global challenges.”
Trudeau’s office said the priorities will include “finishing the fight against COVID-19, getting the job done on vaccines, tackling the climate crisis, creating new middle-class jobs, building an economic recovery that works for everyone, and migration.”
There were no North American Leaders Summits during the four years former U.S. president Donald Trump occupied the White House, the most recent being hosted by Trudeau in Ottawa in 2016 when Enrique Peña Nieto and Barrack Obama were in power.
However, Mexico, the United States and Canada did negotiate a new North American free trade agreement, the USMCA, during the Trump years. That pact, which replaced the 25-year-old NAFTA, took effect in July 2020.
The upcoming “Three Amigos” gathering will take place just after the United States reopened its land borders to nonessential travelers and as large numbers of migrants seek to reach the U.S. via Mexico.
López Obrador met virtually with Biden in March and the two leaders “committed to immigration policies that recognize the dignity of migrants and the imperative of orderly, safe, and regular migration.”
But Mexican authorities have continued to use force against migrants to stem their flow through the country, and the National Guard killed one migrant and wounded four others as they traveled through Chiapas late last month.