WASHINGTON — President Biden will host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico on the White House on Thursday, a diplomatic mission that seeks to seek out accord amid commerce scuffles, accusations of American protectionism and ongoing issues over a surge of migration towards the U.S.-Mexico border.
The return of the summit after a five-year hiatus in the course of the Trump administration indicators an elevated urge for food amongst North American leaders to point out a way of strategic and financial solidarity amid an increase in competitors from Asia and Europe.
The gathering additionally comes at a vital second for the United States, because the breakdown in international provide chains and the mass motion of individuals throughout the Americas has made cooperation with Mexico and Canada extra very important than ever.
Three senior administration officers mentioned Wednesday that the leaders would talk about creating extra humane pathways to asylum or job creation for migrants displaced by local weather change or human trafficking, however wouldn’t talk about insurance policies which have develop into flash factors for immigration activists, together with a program that forces some asylum seekers to attend in Mexico whereas their circumstances are pending.
When requested how the issue of migration might be mentioned with out mentioning these packages, an administration official mentioned they might not talk about pending courtroom circumstances.
The officers spoke anonymously to reporters with a view to define particulars of the summit.
“At the end of the day, getting back together will give the right impression,” mentioned Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. “The bad news is that the issues are many and thorny.”
No accords are anticipated over ongoing disagreements over how every nation has dealt with its commerce commitments. Since Mr. Biden took workplace, the particulars of that Trump-era revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, referred to as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, have been in dispute. The accord sought to replace Mexico’s labor legal guidelines, encourage extra auto manufacturing in North America, and open Canadian markets for American dairy farmers.
In current weeks, the Canadian authorities has argued that the tax credit score provided to American shoppers who purchase American-made electrical automobiles is in breach of the accord. Speaking to reporters in a information convention on Monday, Mr. Trudeau mentioned that the Biden administration’s buy-American ethos was “counterproductive” to selling commerce between the 2 international locations.
“It’s an issue that I’ve already underlined very often with President Biden and it will certainly be part of important conversations that we’ll have later this week,” Mr. Trudeau mentioned.
For its half, the Biden administration has accused the Canadian government of practices that favor Canadian dairy farmers and raised concerns that Mexico’s power insurance policies give an unfair benefit to state-owned firms. Administration officers mentioned on Wednesday that Mr. Biden deliberate to reaffirm U.S.M.C.A. provisions in help of labor rights safety, a reference to a dispute settled against Mexico earlier this 12 months.
Officials count on agreements to be reached over vaccine sharing. Leaders in Canada and Mexico will comply with share “millions” of doses with poorer international locations in Latin America and the Caribbean, an official mentioned. The three international locations will signal onto a pact to cut back methane emissions within the oil and fuel industries by as a lot as 75 p.c by 2030, and kind a working group to handle provide chain points.
The extra delicate discussions will include Mr. López Obrador. Mexico, lengthy an underdog within the relationship with its neighbors, has earned appreciable leverage in a 12 months that noticed a wave of pandemic-fueled migration from Latin America. Mr. Biden has needed to rely ever extra on Mexico to maintain the stream of individuals from overwhelming the southwestern border, and to deal with tens of hundreds of migrants who would possibly in any other case head north.
For Biden officers, the significance of sustaining sturdy Mexican enforcement was made clear in September, when hundreds of Haitians walked throughout the border to Texas.
“The power balance between the Mexican government and the U.S. government has shifted because of the circumstances,” mentioned Duncan Wood, the vp of technique on the Wilson Center. Mexican officers, Mr. Wood mentioned, “know they can hurt the Biden administration, and they know that the Biden administration knows that.”
Mr. Biden’s dependence on Mexico has put the destiny of a key piece of his home agenda within the fingers of Mr. López Obrador, who has lashed out on the United States and pursed insurance policies that run counter to American pursuits.
Mr. López Obrador’s authorities has sought to jail college professors, gutted funding for civic organizations, attacked journalists by identify at nationwide information conferences and championed a constitutional reform that will make sure the dominance of the state-owned electrical energy large in Mexico’s power market.
“They view Mexico as critically important to a number of their high profile goals, the largest of which of course is immigration,” mentioned Roberta S. Jacobson, who beforehand served because the ambassador to Mexico and spent 4 months as Mr. Biden’s border coordinator. “But I think they equally view Mexico as, at best, an extremely complicated partner and at worst an unreliable one on the number of things they care about.”
While the Mexican chief lavished reward on President Donald J. Trump for not interfering in Mexican affairs, he has taken a extra brazenly confrontational stance towards U.S. insurance policies since Mr. Biden took workplace.
Just this week, Mr. López Obrador skewered the American embargo on Cuba as “vile” and attacked the Biden administration for serving to to fund Mexican media teams that he described as “opposition publications.” (The president beforehand mentioned that American financing for Mexican civil society quantities to “promoting a coup mentality.”)
Vice President Kamala Harris met with Mr. López Obrador throughout her journey to Mexico over the summer season and has since been seen as an inside keeper of that relationship. Mr. López Obrador will meet along with her on Thursday morning earlier than he has a bilateral assembly with Mr. Biden.
Ken Salazar, the ambassador to Mexico, has publicly expressed “serious concerns” concerning the power reform designed to spice up the state-controlled electrical energy firm over non-public companies. But the administration has stayed principally quiet on Mr. López Obrador’s provocations, and Mr. Salazar steered away from providing an evaluation of the Mexican president’s therapy of civil society and the media in a September interview with the Times.
“Freedom of the press is very valued by President Biden,” Mr. Salazar mentioned. “I’m sure we’ll have conversations on some of these issues.”
Mr. López Obrador, for his half, has seized the chance to assertively pursue his personal agenda, significantly on safety points.
For months, the Mexican authorities delayed granting visas to a number of brokers from the Drug Enforcement Administration who had been ready for permission to work within the nation, in response to officers within the two international locations.
The delay was partly a response to the arrest of Mexico’s former protection minister in a Los Angeles airport on costs of drug trafficking on the finish of Mr. Trump’s time period final 12 months, the officers mentioned, a transfer that prompted outrage on the highest ranges of the Mexican authorities.
During discussions over safety cooperation after Mr. Biden took workplace, Mexico requested that the United States permit Mexican safety brokers into the nation to work with native legislation enforcement officers on efforts to fight the trafficking of American weapons south of the border.
The Biden administration agreed to that proposal, and within the coming weeks, officers count on that the D.E.A. brokers shall be let into Mexico and the Mexican officers will go to the United States.
Roberto Velasco, the Mexican Foreign Ministry’s chief officer for North America, mentioned in an interview that the transfer was a part of Mr. López Obrador’s concentrate on “a vision of security cooperation that was reciprocal and took into account the priorities of both countries.”
Natalie Kitroeff reported from Mexico City. Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed from Washington.