At Biden, Trudeau and Lopez Obrador’s ‘three men’ summit, there was an elephant in the room

President of the United States and Mexico and Prime Minister of Canada will meet in Washington this afternoon to renew what was once a regular tradition but has recently been celebrated more in violation than in compliance.

A lot has happened since the last summit of North American leaders – known as the Three Amigos gathering, perhaps because it sounded a lot more exciting than the tedious reality of the… negotiations on border issues, road transport and trade. The events of recent years will be considered improbable when Presidents Barack Obama, Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last met in 2016.

Important conference abrupt end then since Obama’s successor, President Donald Trump, has no interest in being anyone’s love, as his campaign is based on insulting Mexicans and outrageous sulking at the convention G7 summit in Canada has shown quite clearly. Trump has also made it very clear that he is tearing up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he claims has torn the United States apart. He then made a huge fanfare about his renegotiated version of which was not much different. And he never made Mexico pay for that wall.

But the North American estrangement lasted longer than Trump. The relationship between the United States and Mexico is still hampered by border issues and a record influx of undocumented migrants. The 19-month pandemic that closed the US border to Canadians has also frustrated Ottawa (and many US border state legislators) as the US ends up with a much worse Covid problem than Canada.

While Biden’s revival of the summit will renew the friendship, that doesn’t mean there aren’t really nasty things to get through. For example, Trudeau is upset about the tax credits Biden is creating for American electronic vehicles, which could cost Canada jobs in a deeply integrated auto industry. Mexico is also concerned about US protectionism.

And although Vice President Kamala Harris spoke a big game about the new era of relations with Mexico when she visited President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in August, both America’s neighbors know that although Trump gone, but the remnants of “American First” still live.


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