Mexican President López Obrador has announced that he will meet US President Donald Trump during his visit to Washington early next month to celebrate the much-awaited US-Mexico-Canada free trade deal or USMCA, which is set to come into force on July 1.
During a press conference on Thursday, López Obrador justified his trip to Washington by asserting that the relationship between the United States and Mexico is based on friendship. He has stated that his meeting with Trump is a matter of economic necessity for Mexico. At the same time, Obrador has also affirmed to take a neutral stand in the US Presidential election, maintaining that his meeting with Trump has nothing to do with it. Mexican officials have also stated that July’s meeting is particularly to promote the new trade agreement.
However, López Obrador’s decision to meet Trump has invited massive criticism in Mexico, as per media reports. Significantly, US President Trump has been an unpopular leader in Mexico due to the remarks he has made against the country in terms of immigration, crime, and border issues.
Expressing optimism towards the meeting, López Obrador said: “This visit has to do with the start, I’ll say it again, of the trade deal. I think this is going to help Mexico and that’s why I’m going.”
Interestingly, Trump and Obrador have been saying positive things about each other on public platforms, despite differences in their ideologies.
At the same time, the Mexican President has extended an invitation to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the meeting. If the Canadian PM decides on attending the meeting, it will be the first time the three key North American leaders will share a stage together. Furthermore, this will be the first foreign visit of López Obrador since he took office as the Mexican President in December 2018. However, a date has yet not been announced by Mexico for the meeting.
It is important to note that the Mexican President is planning a visit to the US at a time when the virus-infected cases continue to surge in both countries. While the US has reported more than 2.47 million Coronavirus positive cases, in Mexico, the pandemic has infected over 203,000 people.
Amid this development, Trump recently took his first trip to the US-Mexico border wall following which he claimed that ‘his wall’ stopped both undocumented immigrants and Coronavirus from entering America. In the wake of surging virus-infected cases, US Customs and Border Protection also announced extending travel restrictions at the US-Canada border and the border with Mexico till July 21 to curb the spread of the virus.
What is US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)?
US-Mexico-Canada Agreement coming into effect on June 1, 2020, will replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeking to promote free, balanced, and reciprocal trade. This agreement will significantly impact the automotive industry with the shifts in rules and policies. It has also been characterized as NAFTA 2.0. Proposed Trump, the agreement was signed by the US President, (former) Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau on November 30, 2018, as part of a side event during the 2018 G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.