President Joe Biden will meet at the White House next week with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, his office said Wednesday, as the US administration seeks to shore up alliances that came under strain under Donald Trump.
At the November 18 meeting, Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will discuss efforts to fight the pandemic, as well as climate change and immigration, the White House said.
Biden is relaunching a gathering known as the North American Leaders’ Summit, the last of which was held in 2016 before being abandoned by Trump.
“During the summit, the United States, Mexico, and Canada will reaffirm their strong ties and integration while also charting a new path for collaboration,” the statement said.
It said the talks will also address “a regional vision for migration,” a touchy issue for the US and Mexico, which regularly sees thousands of mainly Central American migrants arrive at its southern border hoping to reach the United States as they flee poverty and violence at home.
“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 addition to the three-way talks, Biden will also participate in bilateral meetings with Trudeau and Lopez Obrador.
The US statement noted that Biden held his first foreign bilateral meetings as president with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.
“Since day one of the Biden-Harris administration, the United States has reaffirmed the importance of our regional partnerships to realize a more equal, prosperous, greener, democratic future for all our hemisphere’s citizens,” said Biden’s senior director for western hemisphere affairs, Juan Gonzalez.
The change of tone from the Trump era is stark.
Trump renegotiated a major North American trade deal with the two US neighbors but he also triggered conflicts with them.
His project to build a wall along the southern US border weighed on ties with Mexico.
He also had tense relations with Trudeau, calling him “dishonest” and “weak” at the height of a spat over US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico.