The United States and Mexico restarted high-level economic talks Thursday after a four-year pause as top advisers to presidents Joe Biden and Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed eagerness to make headway on issues important to both nations such as infrastructure, trade and migration.
The talks were launched by Biden in 2013 when he was vice president under Barack Obama but were halted under President Donald Trump, whose hard-line immigration policies complicated the United States’ relationship with its top trade partner.
Vice President Kamala Harris opened Thursday’s meeting with brief remarks in which she sought to emphasize the Biden administration’s desire for warmer relations, referring to the Mexican delegation as “our friends, our partners.” She also stressed the importance of improving relations in a moment when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, cyber threats and supply chain disruptions are high priorities for both nations.
“We are very excited about this next stage of the relationship and partnership between the United States and Mexico,” said Harris, who visited Mexico City in June for talks with López Obrador. “Mexico is our closest neighbor … and a strategic partner and one of our most important economic relationships. Mexico’s economic stability is in the interest of the United States.”
Before the meeting, López Obrador said his advisers would press the Biden administration to offer temporary works visas to Central Americans, a move the Mexican government says could help slow the flow of migrants illegally attempting to travel to the United States and help alleviate an American labor shortage.
The U.S. side was represented by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar.
Mexico’s delegation included Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, Ambassador to the U.S. Esteban Moctezuma, Under Secretary of Finance Gabriel Yorio, Under Secretary of Foreign Trade Luz Maria de la Mora, Chief Officer for North America Roberto Velasco, and Director General for International Treaties’ Monitoring, Administration and Compliance Oversight Lydia Antonio.