USA, Mexico and Canada intensify cooperation

USA, Mexico and Canada intensify cooperation

Presidents Biden, Obrador, Prime Minister Trudeau

Mexico City In the end, Mexico’s head of state had the laughs on his side. “You are the first US president not to build a single meter of the wall between our two countries during your tenure, and I thank you for that,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador said to his US colleagues Joe Biden directed. With Obrador, you never really know what ironic or serious comments are.

In any case, Biden froze his smile a little on Wednesday with this sentence at the end of the North America summit. Because the two politicians had previously presented a migration initiative together with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“The three of us are real partners,” said Biden at the end of the three-day summit. In today’s world it is clear that one cannot turn one’s back on common problems. The three politicians, who certainly have opposing views on the issues of the economy, weapons and, above all, drug policy, wanted to send a signal of unity in these globally uncertain times. Together it is important to bring goods production back from abroad to the North American region.

The summit was also about further deepening economic cooperation within the framework of the USMCA free trade agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2018 at the urging of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump. The three countries, which have different views on issues such as wages or energy production, agreed to “deepen value chains”. Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized that these chains should primarily include future technology – “rare minerals, electric cars and also semiconductors”.

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>> Read here: Biden visits border for first time Mexico

That would be progress, especially for the Latin American country, because since the start of NAFTA in 1994, Mexico has primarily been an “extended workbench” for the USA, which means that goods are mainly processed in Mexico to this day. For example, televisions are soldered together or clothes are sewn close to the border. There are deeper technological productions, for example in car and aircraft construction, but they are still the exception.


The second largest economy in Latin America is positioning itself as a winner of globalization. Because of the Covid pandemic and the trade conflict between the USA and China, as well as the proximity to the largest market in the world, international companies are increasingly being drawn from Asia to Mexico. With his orthodox economic and financial policies and the high dollar inflows, President Obrador has also made the peso one of the most stable currencies in emerging markets.

Quotas are intended to control immigration

The issue of migration and border security is likely to be the most urgent for the USA and Mexico in particular. The new US immigration plan envisages the United States taking in 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela each month in exchange for the Mexican government taking in the same number of US deportees.

The flight, especially from those four Latin American countries, continues unabated. In the 12 months ended October 2022, the US intercepted 2.76 million undocumented migrants, according to CBP. Among them, Cubans and Venezuelans were the largest groups. Given the political and economic situation in both countries, the number of migrants from these countries is likely to increase.

>> Read here: Shootings in Mexico after drug lord Guzman arrested

Behind the scenes, the mood during the talks must have been tense. Mexico and the USA not only have difficulties in controlling migration at the border in a meaningful way. In addition, the trade in drugs such as fentanyl in particular is booming.

The arrest earlier this year of Ovidio Guzmán, the son of former cartel boss “Chapo” Guzmán, was a sort of pre-summit gift from Mexico to Biden. Guzmán Jr. was head of one of the largest fentanyl smuggling networks. This man-made opioid has become the deadliest drug in the United States.

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