The ‘Three Amigos’ reconcile in Mexico

Mexico City, Jan 10 (EFE).- The Three Amigos Summit, as the North American leaders’ meeting is informally known, was on Tuesday the scene of reconciliation between Mexico, the United States and Canada after the tensions of the tumultuous presidency of Donald Trump and the distancing forced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

For two days, US President Joe Biden, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the host, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, displayed a return to normality in trilateral relations with hugs, references to the historic friendship of the three countries and an official dinner at the majestic National Palace of Mexico.

“We’re true partners, the three of us,” Biden told reporters from the Patio de Honor of the presidential residence.

At his side, López Obrador and Trudeau, and all of them accompanied by large delegations of senior officials, who conversed while waiting for the arrival of the leaders, more than an hour delayed from the official schedule.

Behind the scenes, a source close to López Obrador told EFE that the delay was a reflection of the prevailing good connection.

Gone were the outbursts and threats that characterized the tenure of Trump, who called into question one of the key elements of relations between the three countries: the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and renamed and updated in 2020 as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) (or Treaty of Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC)).

“You, President Biden, you are the first president of the United States in a very long time that has not built not even one meter of wall,” said López Obrador, referring to the controversial border-building that Trump turned into a symbol of his strong hand in immigration matters.

Despite the atmosphere of camaraderie, the appearance of the three leaders was marked by some comic misunderstandings as a result of the translations and the bewilderment of journalists at the lack of phone and internet connection throughout the event.

Eager attempts to find a signal and pleas for help were met with little shrugs from Mexican officials, under the justification of “security concerns.”

Added to this was the astonishment of the Canadians and Americans at the long responses of the Mexican president, marked by slow cadence and his usual digressions.

Trudeau, the most sparing in words, stressed the economic power of the region whose economy, he said, exceeds that of the European Union.

“We are, and always will be, stronger together,” he said.

If the smiles prevailed, it was largely because the leaders agreed to focus on their areas of cooperation such as the fight against drug trafficking, especially fentanyl, as well as creating “orderly” migration mechanisms, and turning the region into a center of commercial supply chain to reduce dependence on other partners, in reference to China.

One of the biggest points in dispute was left out – Mexico’s energy policy, which Canada and the US consider protectionist and prevents private investment by companies from both countries, and for which they have pointed out that they could open a dispute mechanism within the T-MEC.

Conveniently, the question asked in this regard was ignored by the three leaders. EFE


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