US President Joe Biden welcomed his Mexican envoy and Canadian Prime Minister at the “Three Friends” summit at the White House on Thursday, fearing it could disrupt immigration and trade issues.
Former Republican US President Donald Trump has canceled a previously arranged three-way summit, but Biden is seeking to improve relations between the three countries, which have created a free trade zone, just as he is trying to do with European and Asian allies.
“Today is about what we can do as partners, with mutual respect, to strengthen our region and demonstrate that democracy can deliver results in the 21st century,” Biden said.
“It’s a pleasure to be with you to discuss the new curriculum for the future,” Trudeau replied.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, for his part, stressed the benefits of “economic integration” and described it as the “best way” to confront China.
In their final statement, the three leaders pledged to work together on migration and climate change without talking about any concrete steps, and announced a new summit in Mexico in 2022.
White House Deputy Spokeswoman Chris Maker said: “The culmination of ten months of work to revitalize the North American region, on the one hand, is a key platform for our domestic economic success, as well as an important partnership, and on the part of resolving regional and global challenges.”
In addition to publicly fighting Trudeau, Trump has threatened to abandon the free trade agreement and impose tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel.
But Trump’s decision to run for president does not mean turning the page on the controversy between the “three friends.”
By recreating Trump’s “America First” ideology, Biden is causing some controversy in the U.S. industrial base, especially in the clean energy sector and in the fast-growing electric cars.
Both Mexico and Canada are concerned about Biden’s proposal for a tax credit, which promotes the production of American electric cars, an all-electric Hummer he tested himself during a visit to the General Motors plant in Detroit on Wednesday.
Another key feature is Biden’s “buy American” policy, which means that the federal government will buy a bunch of American-made cars, which Ottawa describes as blatant protectionism.
During a press conference after the summit, Trudeau stressed that he would continue to work on the issue “firmly and positively” in this regard.
McGregor supported Biden’s policy, saying there would be “many opportunities” to work with Canada and Mexico for regional economic development.
According to a senior Biden executive, one of the growing regional problems seeking White House cooperation is the supply chain crisis.
In the south, Mexico is under pressure to intervene to resolve a displacement crisis on the U.S. border, threatening political repercussions.
Trump has made the fight against illegal immigration one of his strongest propaganda messages, while Biden emphasizes the need for humanitarian policy.
A senior executive told reporters that the tripartite meeting on Thursday would focus on regional solutions.
The official said the United States wants to “join hands with Canada and Mexico to find a common approach” in the face of the “unprecedented expulsion” caused by the COVID-19 epidemic and the economic downturn of climate change.
Noting that Mexico is becoming a major destination for illegal immigrants, the official said he was looking for solutions to “the root causes”.
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