US President Joe Biden receives his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House on Thursday as part of the Ninth North American Leaders Summit (NALS). , for its acronym in English) that will focus on actions against covid-19 and economic recovery.
Biden, López Obrador and Trudeau will hold their first meeting in person with the intention of unifying efforts to face the covid-19 pandemic, at a time when USA is the North American nation that registers more deaths and infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with a rate of 3.49 new deaths and 250.97 confirmed cases per million inhabitants.
For its part, Mexico reports a rate of 1.55 deaths per day and 20.78 new infections per million inhabitants, while Canada counts 0.71 deaths and 65.61 infections.
“During the Summit, the US, Mexico and Canada will reaffirm their strong ties and integration while charting a new path for collaboration to end the covid-19 pandemic and promote health security,” said Casa Blanca in a press release.
In 2019, before the pandemic, total merchandise trade between the three nations amounted to more than $ 1.1 trillion.
The Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, announced on Tuesday that during the meeting actions focused on the “study and development of vaccine production, in the case of covid-19 (…) and for other diseases that we may face, would be discussed.” .
Along with the joint efforts in health matters, the heads of the Governments of Mexico, the United States and Canada will discuss the creation of jobs and the recovery of the North American economies, which, as happened in other regions, were severely affected. hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Mexico plummeted -8.3%. By 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the nation will have an economic recovery of 6.2%, and for next year, it forecasts a modest growth of 4%.
The economy of Canada was the second worst hit in North America in 2020, with a drop of -5.3%. This year, the IMF estimates growth of 5.7% and 4.9% for 2022. Meanwhile, the US GDP fell -3.4% in 2020, but has recovered by 6% during 2021 , and next year it would grow to 5.2%, according to the most recent report of the IMF on economic perspectives.
Heads of Government are expected to address the issue of economic recovery, through the trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC), with the expectation of recovering the ground lost by the covid-19 pandemic. and thus reach the levels of 2019, when total merchandise trade between the three nations amounted to more than 1.1 trillion US dollars.
From the White House they pointed out that during the Leaders’ Summit “a regional vision of migration” will be discussed. For their part, Foreign Minister Ebrard and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Mélanie Joly, met the day before the meeting and reaffirmed the importance of address “the root causes of migration”.
Electricity reform in Mexico
Beyond the general positions prior to the Summit next Thursday, the Biden and Trudeau governments have expressed their concerns about the reform to the electricity industry that President López Obrador proposed to strengthen the state company.
The intention of the Mexican president is to modify three articles of the Constitution to apply changes in the National Electric System (SEN), and thus strengthen the public company Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). According to the ruling party, the goal is to guarantee service to a fair price, considering the current disorders in the market.
However, during the meeting with the Mexican Foreign Minister, Joly expressed concern about the changes proposed by Mexico in the energy sector and the “possible negative impact” it would have on Canadian investments in the Latin American nation, in “North American supply chains and climate change efforts.”
The last Summit
Five years have passed since the last North American Leaders Summit. On June 29, 2016, Trudeau received then-US President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto in Ottawa.
At this trilateral meeting, greater cooperation was agreed on defending, fight transnational crime and to reduce the natural disaster risk. Likewise, special emphasis was placed on the fact that the three countries would work closely to tackling the illicit use and availability of drugs. In particular, the need to address the “opioid crisis” was announced.
At the meeting to be held this Thursday at the White House, the issue of security and transnational crime was left off the official agenda. However, the recent capture in Mexico of Rosalinda Gonzalez Valencia, wife Nemesio ‘El Mencho’ Oseguera Cervantes, leader of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG), could be the axis of the private conversation that Biden has with López Obrador.
González Valencia was considered the main financial operator of the CJNG and, therefore, represented a severe blow to the structure of the criminal group with the greatest expansion in Mexico. On November 10, Rosalinda’s brother, José González Valencia, alias ‘La Chepa’, he was extradited from Brazil to the United States., where he faces international drug trafficking charges.
The arrest and extradition of ‘El Mencho’ it is a priority for the Biden Administration. The CJNG leader is among Washington’s most wanted criminals and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offers a $ 10 million reward for information leading to his capture.
Jose Beltran Contreras
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