By KELIN DILLON
On Thursday, Nov. 18, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Washington, D.C., for the IX Summit of North American Leaders, the first of its kind since 2016 and marking the first time López Obrador and Biden have met together in person since Biden assumed office in January 2021.
At around 10 a.m., AMLO, accompanied by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, Deputy Secretary of Health Hugo López-Gatell, Economy Secretary Tatiana Clouthier and Mexican Ambassador to the United States Esteban Moctezuma, met with Trudeau for an hour at the Mexican Cultural Institute. The two executives reportedly discussed their nations’ respective indigenous peoples, women’s leadership and their potential as great commercial allies with one another.
“It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to sit down today to chat with the President of Mexico and discuss all the issues we have in common,” said Trudeau.
Around noon, López Obrador made his way to the White House for a meeting with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, the duo’s first meeting since Harris visited Mexico in June.
“Just as the European Community started, which later became the European Union, the ideal is that our countries integrate with each other as a region,” said AMLO during his meeting with Harris, promoting consolidating the North American countries into a single union. “I believe that the economic integration of North America with respect to sovereignty is an option and as an ideal the integration of the American continent to be the economically strongest region in the world.”
AMLO and Harris likewise discussed the United States and Mexico’s mutual migration issue, with López Obrador stressing the need to invest economically into Central American communities to make migration optional, rather than necessary.
“We seek good relations between nations. We are moving toward strengthening economic integration and addressing the causes of migration,” said AMLO after meeting with Harris.
AMLO then met with Biden in the Oval Office ahead of Trudeau’s arrival, where the two leaders discussed their commitment to democracy and resuming a high-level dialogue between the United States and Mexico.
The official summit between López Obrador, Trudeau and Biden began at 4:22 p.m., with Biden opening the meeting by talking about the potential positive effects of a strong alliance between the leaders’ three respective nations, and Trudeau following up Biden’s speech with a statement of agreement.
For his part, AMLO took the opportunity at the summit to reiterate his proposal for the North American countries to unite with one another through an economic development plan, citing the need to strengthen the region’s market share in the world economy against China’s growing presence.
“If the trend of the last decade continues, in 30 years, China will have a 42 percent market dominance,” said AMLO. “We — the United States, Mexico and Canada — would keep 12 percent, which, in addition to being an unacceptable disproportion in the world economic, could maintain the temptation for other nations to resolve disparity with us through the use of force, which would put us in danger.”
AMLO then asked his fellow leaders to “put prejudices aside” and begin accepting more migrants into their countries to bolster their workforces and be more competitive economically, likewise commending Biden for his stance on migration.
“Stop rejecting migrants when you need to grow a workforce, as labor levels are not currently sufficient in the United States and Canada,” said AMLO.
“Why not study the demand for labor and open the migratory flow in an orderly manner? No president in the history of the United States has manifested a commitment as clear and unequivocal as you to improve the situation of migrants, in particular the regularization of the 11 million of Migrants living and working honestly in the United States.”
Upon its conclusion, there was no traditional press conference, but each leader took to social media to individually express their appreciation of the participation in the North American Leaders Summit, with Biden saying “we are committed to providing a better future for our people and creating the conditions for prosperity, sustainability and security.”