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President Biden to Speak with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico

Analysis from Wilson Center experts on the virtual summit between Biden and AMLO.

President Biden is expected to have a virtual summit with Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday, March 1st. Experts from The Wilson Center's Mexico Insitute share their analysis on this important partnership for the new administration.

Analysis from Mexico Institute experts on the talks between Biden and AMLO.

  • "Following the president’s virtual visit with Prime Minister Trudeau, a similar visit with Mexican President López Obrador is entirely appropriate. Successfully responding to the myriad challenges facing our region requires regular high-level coordination and cooperation. Secretary of State Blinken’s meetings last week with his counterparts, Secretaries Ebrard and Clouthier, resulted in commitments on both sides to strengthen cooperation and work to address shared challenges including bilateral trade, security, migration, and climate change. I would expect that the presidents would discuss those same issues given the importance both have placed on these topics (to varying degrees, admittedly) and the need for collective action. Despite the strains stemming from the Cienfuegos matter, security cooperation remains essential if we wish to address drug abuse (and overdose), corruption, and organized crime which impact both nations. Migration, which is also impacted by organized crime, also demands a joint approach to address the drivers, which both leaders have highlighted, and to properly care for those awaiting immigration hearings in the US. The presidents will likely also address outstanding commercial issues including energy and USMCA implementation. Finally, I am hopeful that an announcement may be forthcoming on a North American Leaders Summit so that these and other issues can be pursued from a North American perspective in addition to bilaterally."

  • "The prospect of an imminent clash between Presidents Lopez Obrador and Biden probably will not materialize. The relationship is very important for both sides. However, there are clear differences and challenges ahead: energy policies in Mexico,  climate change and the role of fossil fuels versus renewables, a deteriorating business climate in Mexico, security and law enforcement cooperation, and a realistic but principled approach to migration. AMLO’s notion of nationalism will make things difficult since it is backward-looking in my view. Simply avoiding a conflict is a very limited objective for such an important relationship, especially considering the present geopolitical context and Mexico’s need to get the economy going again."

  • "Beyond the specifics of the issues on the agenda today, the first virtual meeting between Presidents Biden and Lopez Obrador will evidence one of the salient challenges for the relationship going forward. As a politician who cut his teeth in the Mexico of the seventies and eighties, Lopez Obrador simply does not comprehend how the US-Mexico relationship evolved and has been transformed these last two decades and a half. There is no such thing as a relationship with independent silos for domestic and bilateral, foreign policy, issues respectively. Domestic policy issues are bilateral policy issues and vice versa. They are intertwined, in what I started labeling as an intermestic agenda during my tenure as Ambassador. If you add to the mix Lopez Obrador's obsession with sovereignty as a way to foil what he perceives is foreign meddling, the necessary and unescapable transborder synergies on everything from USMCA compliance, climate change and a green economy, energy efficiency and security, essential supply chains and food security to migration flows and labor mobility, transnational criminal organizations or cybersecurity will become extremely difficult to address and to tackle jointly. "

  • "The first official meeting between presidents Biden and Lopez Obrador offers an opportunity to lay out the board outlines of a strategy on migration that focuses on four areas: creating legal pathways for work; improving humanitarian protection; professionalizing immigration enforcement, and investing in development. Both presidents have a stake in getting this right before this issue becomes a major irritant in the relationship again."

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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more