(Update: changes headline, re-ledes with statement from business group)
Mexico City, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- The Business Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) on Wednesday congratulated incoming US President Joe Biden, whose inauguration the organization sees as an “opportunity” to “relaunch” the Mexico-US relationship after years of tensions during the mandate of Donald Trump.
“Joe Biden’s taking office as the 46th president of the United States represents an opportunity for his government and that of Mexico to work in an articulated and coordinated way with the objective of resuming the respectful and proactive (approach) that has historically characterized the bilateral relationship,” said the entity in a statement.
Coparmex emphasized that Mexico and the US are “partner nations” but their relationship “went through assorted ups and downs and moments of tension stemming, in large measure, from the stance of Donald Trump on sensitive issues” like negotiating the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade.
“With the arrival of the new government headed by Biden, the scenario is promising if Mexico makes the correct decisions. Within Comparmex, we believe it is urgent to initiate a process to review the terms of the bilateral relationship that is the world’s most intense and institutionalized,” the organization said.
For the employers’ organization, it is crucial to strengthen the economic dialogue between the two countries, exert influence on redesigning US policies, establish a new joint security strategy, collaborate on handling the Covid-19 pandemic, push forward with the USMCA and strengthen diplomacy.
The US is Mexico’s main trading partner, while Mexico has fluctuated between No. 1 and No. 2 in terms of US trade in recent months.
According to the Mexican government, trade between the two countries hit an historic record of $614 billion in 2019.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed agreement Wednesday with Biden’s “principal approaches” as the veteran politician was about to be inaugurated in Washington DC.
“I have been reading (Biden’s proposals) and coincide with its three principal approaches,” the Mexican leader, known as AMLO, said at his daily morning press conference hours before the inauguration.
The leftist president hailed Biden’s stated priorities of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, reactivating the economy and moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform.
“Our compatriots who have spent years working in the United States, contributing to the development of that great nation, should be legalized,” AMLO said, expressing confidence in Biden’s support for a measure he described as “good for Mexico.”
AMLO recalled that nine years ago, as leader of the opposition, he presented to Biden, then serving as vice president under Barack Obama, a letter asking the administration to “regularize” the status of the millions of undocumented Mexicans in the US.
But agreement on immigration reform remained as elusive during Obama’s presidency as it was under his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Talking to reporters in Mexico City just as Trump was departing the White House for the last time, AMLO said that with 38 million Mexican-born people living and working north of the border, “the arrival today of a new president of the United States is very important.”
AMLO, who was criticized for waiting until US lawmakers certified the election result to congratulate Biden on his victory, has been careful to avoid antagonizing Trump, whose 2016 election campaign was filled with harsh rhetoric toward immigrants and against Mexico.
In 2019, AMLO’s government militarized Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala to block Central American migrants illegally trying to reach the US.
The step followed a threat by Trump to slap tariffs on all Mexican imports if AMLO didn’t put a halt to the northbound migrant caravans.