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Leaders of US, Mexico and Canada Hold Talks in Mexico City Summit


U.S. President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pose at the conclusion of the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City, Mexico, Jan. 10, 2023.
U.S. President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pose at the conclusion of the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City, Mexico, Jan. 10, 2023.

The leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States met Tuesday in Mexico City for a summit and said they have made the regional partnership stronger after two days of meetings.

During the North American Leaders’ Summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to strengthen economic ties, including making more goods in the region and ramping up semiconductor production.

Biden said at a news conference after a roughly two-hour meeting at Mexico’s National Palace that the three countries “are true partners.”

“We are stronger and better when we work together, the three of us, and together we made enormous progress since our last summit from fighting COVID-19 and strengthening our ability to address public health threats to investing in and building a 21st century workforce,” Biden said.

North American Leaders Resolve to Work on Challenges of Migration, Drugs and More
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They also discussed combating climate change, migration and the movement of drugs and people along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico will help the U.S. fight the trade in the synthetic opioid fentanyl, Lopez Obrador said, which has led to the deaths of thousands of Americans. And he urged Biden to push the U.S. Congress for immigration reform and to help fix the status of millions of Mexicans without documentation in the United States.

Migration was one of the most talked-about issues at the summit, the Mexican president said.

The three leaders reaffirmed a commitment they adopted six months ago in the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, which includes the expansion of legal migration pathways, a range of collaborative measures and better communication, both among one another and with their respective publics.

“And the reason why this summit, this trilateral relationship, is so impactful is because we share a common vision for the future grounded on common values,” Biden said.

Migration Issues to Headline US-Mexico-Canada Summit
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The main outcomes from the summit are better communication among the three nations, the goal to make North America stronger in energy and an understanding that they need to manage the increasing number of migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border while dealing with issues still arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there were complex and important conversations, experts are not surprised there was not any one major announcement.

Andrew Rudman, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, told VOA that trilateral summits “rarely yield major announcements or resolution” because the issues that the three leaders talked about were not only complex but long-standing.

“I think it's not surprising that there was not some explosive announcement in their communique or in their press conference. But I think, having said that, the fact that they meet on a regular basis and that they identify priorities for their administrations to pursue for the coming year, I think that is important,” he said.

During the one-on-one meeting on Monday, migration, climate change, trade and manufacturing issues headlined U.S.-Mexico talks as the host, Lopez Obrador, forcefully urged greater continental integration.

Mexico hopes that it could benefit from coordination on the manufacture of semiconductors, which are used in hundreds of products.

"This is the moment for us to determine to do away with this abandonment, this disdain," he said. "And this forgetfulness for Latin America and the Caribbean, which is opposed to the policy of the good neighborhood, of the titans of freedom and liberty … starting with you, because there would be no other leader that could implement this enterprise."

The three countries agreed to combat the flood of banned narcotics by sharing information on the chemicals used to make them. They also agreed to reduce methane emissions by at least 15% by 2030 from 2020 levels, and they agreed to create a virtual platform to give migrants easier access to ways to enter Mexico, the U.S. and Canada legally, according to Reuters.

Finally, Biden announced he would visit Canada in March.

VOA immigration reporter Aline Barros in Washington contributed to this story. Some material for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.