International alliances have always existed for two reasons: overlapping interests or geographic proximity. Often the two premises intermingle and then there are conditions more conducive to walking hand in hand. That is probably the essential background reflection that first laid the foundations to retake the North American leaders’ summit and that now backs up its balance sheet. The trilateral meeting of Mexico, the United States and Canada, held last Thursday in Washington after five years of neglecting their neighbors by former President Donald Trump, left several messages that revolve around the word “integration.” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reviewed the meeting on Monday showing his interest in deepening his commitment to North America and regional collaboration based on mutual respect for sovereignties. The president described the visit as a “progressive meeting” and highlighted the issues that marked the day, from the economy to migration, in a climate of equality.
According to López Obrador, the meeting with US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau passed without “any problem, no substantive difference.” “The proposal is: we are going to strengthen ourselves as a region, that there is more investment,” he stressed during the morning press conference on the event, known colloquially as The Three Amigos. “We have a workforce, let’s change the policy of rejecting migrants, most of them young. If there is not enough workforce in the United States, in Canada, why not do an analysis on the demand for workforce according to what needs to grow and order the migratory flow, expand temporary work visas, look for ways so that whoever wants to go to work in the United States, in Canada, can do so? ”.
It was precisely the Mexican president who proposed, at the beginning of the meeting, a turn in the strategy to face the supply crisis, especially in the context of China’s commercial boom. It is not possible, he warned, that due to a lack of chips or the increase in prices of maritime transport “a North American consumer has to wait up to six months to be able to acquire a stove, a refrigerator, a car.” The path proposed by the Government under the umbrella of the T-MEC trade treaty goes through a new approach also in the matter of migration and to this end, after months of talks and bilateral meetings, the summit ended with a new commitment from the White House. “With President Biden we discussed support for the Central American countries. And indeed, it is being said that they are going to start investing in Honduras with a program that they are going to call Sembrando Oportunidades, which is like Sembrando Vida. So progress was made ”.
Mexico has always demanded greater investment by Washington to alleviate migratory flows -which today mainly involve the northern triangle of Central America and Haiti-, which clashed with its principle of making disbursements subject to the performance of the beneficiary regions. This program, similar to the one launched on the southern border of the country, is a first step. López Obrador also reminded Biden “of the commitment to regularize 11 million migrants” and has assured that “progress has been made with that purpose.” “I hope that President Biden has the support of Congress, of legislators not only from the Democratic Party, but also from the Republican Party, and I argued that we would be pending, supporting that initiative, because it is about our countrymen,” he said. saying.
The president also emphasized the sensitivity shown by both the United States and Canada towards Mexico’s priorities. Treatment “on an equal footing”, he emphasized. But beyond the specific agenda agreed – which also includes measures related to the covid-19 pandemic, security and indigenous communities – the summit demonstrated a good functioning of the institutional architecture between the three countries and the fluidity of relations.
This did not happen overnight, but is the result of months of work by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and teams from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs such as the North American Unit headed by Roberto Velasco. The open fronts are the usual ones, and they range from violence to the economy, migration and coincidences are not absolute, but the bases do exist to reach agreements in an atmosphere of serenity. It happened from the first virtual appointment with Biden, held at the end of February, the visit of Vice President Kamala Harris in June, the high-level economic dialogue in September and the signing of a new security plan, dubbed the Bicentennial Understanding.
Before the trilateral meeting, the leaders held bilateral meetings last week. López Obrador saw Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Trudeau separately. With the latter, he perhaps addressed one of the issues that has generated the most debate in Mexico in recent months: an electrical reform, still in process, which recovers the prominence of a State company, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and which has set off the alarms of private investors. “We are talking about the electrical industry, about the possibility of cooperation to modernize equipment, turbines in hydroelectric plants. They have a public company, as well as the Federal Electricity Commission, and the possibility of establishing an agreement between these public companies to modernize hydroelectric plants was raised, ”said the president, assuring that he cleared up misunderstandings with the Canadian prime minister. “The electrical reform was also clarified. The prime minister was very receptive. I told him that they had used the clean energy banner to do dirty business. I explained to him in detail how they had looted the country in recent times ”.
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