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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Biden Seeks Latin America Collaboration on Migration, Economy

U.S. President Joe Biden will speak about economic development and migration during a summit with leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean on November 3 at the White House, his spokesperson reported on Friday.

This is the first summit of the Partnership for Economic Prosperity in the Americas (APEP), which includes, in addition to the United States, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Canada, and Barbados.

During the meeting, Biden will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to working with its partners “to deepen economic integration in the Americas, drive more inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and address the underlying economic causes of irregular migration” on the continent, spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Migration is a major concern for the Democratic leader, who Republicans accuse of not doing enough to curb it.

On Friday, Biden asked Congress for a budget increase that includes $13.6 billion to strengthen the border with Mexico, manage irregular migration, and combat fentanyl trafficking, an opioid largely manufactured by Mexican drug cartels.

Latin American countries believe that more investment is needed. Biden, who is running for reelection in the 2024 presidential election, agrees with them.

The meeting will allow for the creation of “new tools to mobilize responsible investment” in order to promote quality jobs and competitiveness, his spokesperson said.

This weekend, some of the participants will attend a migration summit in Mexico. The goal is to see “how we can ensure that there are jobs, that there is well-being in the towns of our countries (…), not just thinking about coercive measures, checkpoints, walls, militarizing borders,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

A clear reference to the increase in repatriations from the United States and the planned expansion of the border wall, which according to Biden will be carried out by legal imperative.

APEP was launched in 2022, during the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, to boost regional growth.

This alliance hopes to include other countries and is intended to mobilize investment, promote clean energy to advance decarbonization and biodiversity, and strengthen supply chains.

Several of its members hope to benefit from the relocation of production from Asia to countries close to the United States.

Washington is in favor of incentivizing producers to move to Latin America, especially Central America, not only to boost growth, but also to compete with China, an unavoidable trading partner in the region.

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