U.S. President Joe Biden will convene an in-person trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Washington, D.C., next Thursday, the White House said today.
The leaders of North America’s largest nations — sometimes referred to as the Three Amigos — have not held a formal summit such as this since meeting in 2016 in Ottawa.
In a statement, the White House said the North American leaders’ meeting will be a chance for the three allies to “reaffirm their strong ties and integration while also charting a new path for collaboration on ending the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing health security.”
In addition to addressing the ongoing health crisis, the one-day summit will be a chance to discuss “competitiveness and equitable growth,” the White House said, a pressing concern at a time when decades-high inflation rates and snarled supply chains have caused consumer prices to spike.
The three leaders will also discuss the fight against climate change as countries try to hammer out a deal at COP26 in Glasgow to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.
The Conference of Parties (COP), as it’s known, meets every year and is the global decision-making body set up to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in the early 1990s, and subsequent climate agreements.
Also on Biden’s agenda is talk of a “regional vision for migration” as the U.S. grapples with an influx of migrants, may of whom enter through the southern border with Mexico.
“Strengthening our partnership is essential to our ability to build back better, to revitalize our leadership and to respond to a widening range of regional and global challenges. With respect for each other’s sovereignty and in a true spirit of partnership, we affirm our unwavering vision that North America is the most competitive and dynamic region in the world,” the White House said in its statement announcing the meeting.
The first summit since new trade deal
The meeting will be Trudeau’s first summit with both Biden and Lopez Obrador. Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto held the respective presidential offices of the U.S. and Mexico when the leaders met last in 2016.
The meeting will also be the first summit of the three nations since they agreed to a revised North American trade deal, known in Canada as CUSMA.
Economic tensions between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have escalated since that deal was signed, in part due to the Biden administration’s Buy American pledge, which would could impede trade across borders because of new rules that favour U.S. manufacturers.
Buy American provisions in the recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure bill give significant advantages to American companies competing for construction contracts. A separate bill would create a new $12,500 US credit for the purchase of electric vehicles, but only if they’re manufactured in the U.S.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland raised concerns about the Buy American plans during a trip to Washington in October.