Mexico
US will focus HLED talks on immigration
After a gap of four years, the Biden administration will restart the High-level Economic Dialogue (HLED) between Mexico and the United States in Washington DC on Thursday.

After a gap of four years, the Biden administration will restart the High-level Economic Dialogue (HLED) between Mexico and the United States in Washington DC on Thursday.

The US and Mexican delegations are set to establish a common agenda and advance mutual priorities in economic matters.

The White House announced that issues like Covid-19 recovery, climate change, addressing the root causes of migration, and security will also be discussed.

A senior official from the State Department told LPO that the United States will focus the talks on stemming the flow of migrants from Central America by promoting investments in the region, particularly from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.

Created by Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto in May 2013, the HLED is aimed at advancing strategic economic and commercial priorities between Mexico and the United States to promote mutual economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness.

Cabinet officials from both countries meet annually, while sub-cabinet officials work toward these goals year-round.

The initial talks were launched by Biden in 2013 in Mexico City when he served as Vice President under Barack Obama but were suspended under Trump in 2016.

The main priorities for Mexico are combating the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery, reopening the border with the United States, as well as promoting regional collaboration to deal with the immigration crisis.

Mexico's Trade Secretary dodges USMCA labor and energy concerns 

During his morning press conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that he would send a letter to Biden asking him to accept the immigration proposal he pitched during the Leaders Summit on Climate in April.

The proposal urges that the United States to financially support the expansion of Mexico's tree-planting employment program- Sembrando Vida (Sowing Life)- to Central America.

Participants enrolled in the program would qualify for a United States work visa after three years and could apply for U.S. citizenship after working in the country for six months.

The former Mexican Undersecretary of Foreign Trade and chief negotiator of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Juan Carlos Baker told LPO that "the simple fact that the HLED is going to happen is good news. Biden's agenda with Mexico has focused on security and migration. The HLED will draw attention to trade issues and economic recovery, but there shouldn't be high expectations for this meeting."

"Mexico's priority should be economic recovery. We are completely dependent on the United States on this issue. Mexico needs to start thinking about how it can be useful in promoting President Biden's initiatives because it will ultimately translate into economic growth for Mexico," Baker added. "If Mexico doesn't discuss these issues, then the United States will yet again put immigration at the top of the list."

Juan Carlos believes that another topic that could be discussed at the meeting is a letter that members of the Alliance for Trade Enforcement (AFTE) wrote to VP Harris ahead of the HLED meeting. They urge the Biden-Harris administration take swift enforcement action to hold Mexico accountable for its persistent non-compliance with the USMCA.

The U.S. delegation will be led by Vice President Kamala Harris. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative

Ambassador Katherine Tai, and U.S. ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar will also attend the event.

Participants from Mexico include Minister of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard, Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier, senior officials of the Finance Ministry, and Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Esteban Moctezuma.

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