The leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico discussed migration and trade during a Mexico City summit on Tuesday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador welcomed US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Mexican capital amid simmering tensions between the North American countries.
The so-called Three Amigos summit was revived by Biden in 2021 and hosted in the US, after a hiatus during predecessor Donald Trump's term.
The talks revolved around better connections among the three nations and a shared goal of a stronger North America on energy, climate and migration.
Despite friction over migration and trade, the three leaders aimed to put up an optimistic front during the summit.
"We're true partners the three of us," said Biden at a news conference after the summit, adding that they had "genuine like" for one another. "We share a common vision for the future, grounded on common values."
The three countries were working "to strengthen our cooperation on supply chains and critical minerals... to build the technologies of tomorrow right here in North America," he said.
'Unlimited economic potential'
During bilateral talks on the sidelines, Biden told Trudeau: "What we should be doing, and we are doing, is demonstrating the unlimited economic potential that we have when we work together in the hemisphere, and to help the entire hemisphere.''
Trudeau acknowledged that progress in trade would take a lot of work, but added that there are "a lot of reasons to be optimistic."
A White House statement said a planned semiconductor forum would coordinate the hi-tech industry's supply chain mapping, with the intention of identifying needs and investment opportunities in making chips.
One source of tensions has been Mexico's energy policies, which the US and Canada argue prioritizes its cash-strapped energy companies at the expense of private investors. The US and Canada last summer joined forces to launch a former dispute settlement proceedings against those policies.
The issue was raised by Canada once again on Monday.
Mexico expresses gratitude after criticizing US
On Monday, Lopez Obrador complained of Washington's "abandonment'' and "disdain" for Latin America.
But the next day, the Mexican leader thanked Biden for not building "even one meter of wall," an apparent reference to Trump's pledges to build a border fence to stop migrants coming into the US from Mexico.
Tuesday's meeting marked Biden's first visit to Mexico since taking office two years ago. However, Lopez Obrador's strong ties with Trump meant Biden had a challenging task ahead.
That task was further complicated by the growing tension at the US-Mexico borders, where US border guards are outnumbered by migrants hoping to cross. The US president visited the border for the first time as president on Sunday, after rounds of criticism by Republicans.
Last week, Biden announced his administration would immediately begin turning away Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans who enter the US illegally. Simultaneously, they offered a legal pathway for 30,000 migrants arriving from the three countries and Venezuela a month.
rmt/fb (AFP, AP, Reuters)