(Washington) The leaders of the three governments of North America, calling them “Three Amigos”, meet this week in Mexico City: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is hosting his counterpart from the United States, Joe Biden , and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
The plane carrying Prime Minister Trudeau and his wife took off around 10 a.m. from Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. It should land around 2:40 p.m. at Felipe Ángeles International Airport in Mexico City.
“The potential of this summit for North America is immense,” said Eric Farnsworth, the former Clinton-era White House official who now heads the Washington office of the Council of the Americas and the Society of Americas.
Eric Farnsworth believes a continental perspective will be key to making substantial progress on issues such as strengthened supply chains, mitigating China’s influence and building a 21st-century workforce.e century in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hope that leaders, when they come together to discuss some of these issues, will keep in mind the fundamental vision of what North America could really be,” he said during a round table last Friday.
“We can’t do these things without our partners in Canada and Mexico; it’s just fundamental to our own well-being. And so that must be the underlying message of the leaders when they come together. »
This Monday, Prime Minister Trudeau will participate in a late afternoon discussion with business leaders from across the continent before the summit officially begins on Tuesday.
While Mr Trudeau is in the air, Joe Biden – fresh from his first presidential visit to the politically tense southern border – will hold a bilateral meeting with his Mexican counterpart. A tete-a-tete between the leaders of Canada and the United States is not expected until Tuesday morning.
“It’s a trilateral meeting, but a lot of bilateral points are also discussed during these meetings,” says Gary Doer, who served as Canada’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2016.
Then-Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper had several one-on-one meetings with his US counterpart Barack Obama the last time the summit was held in Mexico in 2014, Doer said.
With Canadian and Mexican manufacturers added to the 11e In time for President Biden’s plan to encourage the sale of climate-friendly electric vehicles, there will be room to talk about more familiar irritants like trade disputes and US protectionism.
On these fronts there will be no shortage of talking points.
The United States argues that Canada’s supply-managed dairy market deprives US producers of fair access to customers north of the border. Washington also claims that Mexico unfairly favors domestic energy suppliers.
For their part, Mexico and Canada criticize the United States for not playing a level playing field when it comes to how it defines foreign content in its automotive supply chains.
Mexico is also under pressure to agree with the United States on President Lopez Obrador’s plan to ban imports of genetically modified corn and the herbicide glyphosate, an order that has angered American farmers.
Then there is Buy American, the long-standing and politically popular American doctrine of preferring domestic suppliers over those of neighboring allies.
Canada may have averted disaster when President Biden’s electric vehicle tax credits were changed last year to include North American manufacturers, but the president still rarely misses an opportunity to tout power chains. supply made in America.
And the green energy incentives currently in place in the United States still pose challenges for Canada, according to Louise Blais, a retired Canadian diplomat who served as ambassador to the UN and consul general in Atlanta.
“I expect the Mexican president and the Canadian prime minister to raise this issue with the president to say, ‘Look, we need to have a more continental approach to some of these policies.’ It is in the interest of the United States to put these measures in place so that they really drive prosperity across its own country,” said Ms.me Blais.
As a country that is not immune to the influences of irregular migration and the flow of fentanyl across the US-Mexico border, Canada will also need to be part of this conversation, which should largely dominate the agenda. .
U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities reported nearly 2.4 million deportations and arrests at or near the southern border during the past fiscal year, a 37% increase from to the previous year. There would be a post-pandemic increase in irregular migration in both directions across the northern border.
Joe Biden’s visit to the southern border on Sunday followed a new crackdown on irregular migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua, in addition to existing restrictions on Venezuelan migrants.
At the same time, the United States plans to welcome 30,000 new immigrants per month from the four countries over the next two years, provided they are eligible to work and enter the country legally.
Brian Nichols, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, made it clear during a roundtable at the Wilson Center on Friday that his country’s unique ties to Canada will not be lost in Mexico.
“It’s a family conversation in a way that you often don’t have with other nations,” according to Brian Nichols. “The willingness to advance our shared future in these conversations is something that really stands out. »
Canada, however, does not want to be equated with Mexico when it comes to its relations with the United States, points out Scotty Greenwood, executive director of the Canadian American Business Council. “He wants to have his own unique relationship with the United States, so we’ll see how Canada fares with the ‘North American idea.’
President Biden has yet to visit Canada in person since taking office — a longstanding bilateral tradition that usually comes soon after a presidential inauguration but was short-circuited in 2021 by the pandemic.
This week’s meetings in Mexico could provide a new indication of when Joe Biden’s long-promised trip to the north – confirmed over the summer but cut short again when the president himself tested positive to COVID-19 – could finally take place.