News ID: 318041
Published: 0258 GMT November 19, 2021

North American leaders hail ties but fail to resolve tensions

North American leaders hail ties but fail to resolve tensions

US President Joe Biden (C) walks with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a meeting in the White House.

The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico hailed their reinvigorated partnership after their first summit in five years, but nagging tensions over trade and immigration remained largely unresolved.

The so-called “Three Amigos” meeting in Washington, D.C. on Thursday was the first of its kind since 2016, after being discontinued when Donald Trump took over as president, Al Jazeera reported.

“Together as North America we stand strong, and look to better build back our communities, our infrastructure, and our shared future as integrated partners,” US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a joint statement after the summit.

They agreed to meet again next year, this time in Mexico.

Biden, who took office in January, has sought to re-emphasise strong relations with Canada and Mexico as part of a wider effort to rebuild alliances and Washington’s support for international organisations.

The three countries are bound by the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement, which governs some $1.5 trillion a year in North American trade.

After the meeting, Biden said the array of challenges discussed, which included trade, migration, climate change, and the coronavirus pandemic, can be addressed “if we just take the time to speak with one another, by working together”.

Trudeau touted the “extremely strong ties” between the three countries, while Lopez Obrador hailed Biden’s re-engagement, saying “our relations must always be based on respect”.

Despite the positive statements, the meeting yielded few breakthroughs on several tense topics that continue to dog relations as the leaders seek to rebound from the fraught Trump years.

In addition to feuding publicly with Trudeau, Trump threatened to abandon the free-trade agreement and imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel.

He also declared a national emergency on the Mexican border and used incendiary and xenophobic language about undocumented migrants crossing the border with Mexico, although he ultimately forged a working partnership with Lopez Obrador.

Still, Canada and Mexico see echoes of Trump’s “America First” approach in some Biden policies, particularly as he seeks to reinvigorate the slumping US industrial sector.

Mexico and Canada have voiced alarm over a Biden proposal for a tax credit encouraging US production of electric vehicles. Cars and trucks are the most-traded manufactured product between the three countries.






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