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López Obrador Steals the Spotlight During US-Mexico Meeting

By Paloma Duran | Tue, 07/19/2022 - 10:19

On Tuesday, US president Joe Biden received Mexico’s President López Obrador to address the key issues discussed at the Summit of the Americas. However, since López Obrador did not attend the Summit, the new meeting was aimed at reaching key bilateral agreements. Experts argue that López Obrador's more active role during the meeting revealed Mexico's importance in the region and for the US.

Because of the crucial position of both countries in the region, both governments agreed to build a better relationship and nurture cooperation. López Obrador said that through five proposals, the bond and opportunities between the two countries could improve significantly. The first proposal was to increase Mexico's gasoline inventory to ensure supply, especially as fuel prices are rising in the US, leading Americans to cross the border and buy it cheaper in Mexico. The second proposal was to develop 1,000km of gas pipelines available to the US’ producers and located on the border, so that gas from Texas could reach New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The third proposal considered to eliminate time-consuming paperwork and tariffs between the countries. A private investment plan between the two countries to produce goods needed to reduce exports from other parts of the world was the fourth proposal. For the latter, López Obrador highlighted that Mexico's decision to nationalize lithium is an opportunity for the US, since USMCA-backed access it will allow the country to technologically modernize key industries such as the automotive sector.

With the final proposal, the countries aimed to better structure migration and allow migrants access to US work visas. López Obrador emphasized that this idea is feasible because Biden's proposed infrastructure plan will need laborers that Mexico can provide. In addition, it would help improve the safety for those looking to migrate.

"It is essential to regularize and give certainty to migrants, who have been working honestly for years and contributing to the development of this great nation. I know that the conservatives will oppose to my proposal. However, without a daring development and welfare program, it will not be possible to solve migration issues,” López Obrador said.

Biden said he agreed with López Obrador on many points, as the two nations share close ties and want to build a stronger relationship after it was disrupted under the government of former US President Donald Trump. However, he emphasized that certain issues must be discussed further.

“For me and my administration, the US-Mexico relationship is vital to achieving our goals,  everything from the fight against COVID-19, to continuing to grow our economies, to strengthening our partnerships and addressing migration as a shared challenge. Mr. President, you have had many important things to say, and we share much agreement.  Some of the details, we will have a chance to talk about where the disagreement is. However, the most important is that we agree that we need to work closely together,” said Biden.

According to analysists, López Obrador was at the center of attention during the discussion, while Biden seemed ill at ease. They argued that López Obrador's stronger position materialized because understands the key role that Mexico has on the continent and in US politics. “López Obrador, unfortunately, has realized that he has a lot of influence, due to how important the immigration issue is for the US administration at this stage. In many ways, López Obrador feels that he can have his cake and eat it too,” said Arturo Sarukhán, the Former US Ambassador to Mexico.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, the White House, Milenio, NPR, USA Today News,
Photo by:   Gobierno de México
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst