By David Ljunggren and Dave Graham
OTTAWA/MEXICOCITY -U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to host an in-person meeting with the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Nov. 18, the first of its kind in more than five years, a source in Ottawa said on Tuesday.
Three other people familiar with the matter had said final details were still being worked out but if the meeting goes ahead it would most likely be some time next week in Washington.
Sources based in Ottawa and Mexico City requested anonymity because the plans were not yet public.
Biden has held virtual meetings with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since taking office this year, and attended the G20 in Rome with Trudeau. The in-person summit coincides with policy tensions over immigration, energy and trade.
Immigration on the U.S. southern border with Mexico has reached record levels, and Mexico wants the U.S. https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-warns-migration-will-not-slow-without-more-us-investment-central-america-2021-10-13 to invest more to stem it.
As well as immigration, the agenda will cover fighting COVID-19 and competitiveness, the Ottawa source said.
The leaders of the three countries started holding what is informally known as the Three Amigos summit in 2005 and met most years until 2016 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-canada-mexico/adios-three-amigos-obama-heads-to-last-summit-with-canada-mexico-idUSKCN0ZD0NU. The practice ended when U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
The countries are bound together by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement that governs https://www.reuters.com/business/us-trade-chief-tai-urges-canada-mexico-enforce-new-north-american-trade-deal-2021-05-18 some $1.5 trillion in North American trade annually.
Trudeau welcomed Biden’s election win a year ago but since then a series of old trade disputes over lumber, pipelines and procurement have flared up.
Canada is also unhappy about proposed U.S. tax credits for electric vehicles and says if they are introduced, it would respond appropriately. Ottawa says the move could harm the highly-integrated continental auto industry.
In July, Canada and United States expressed concern about Mexican energy policies.
The White House and Trudeau’s office declined comment. The office Lopez Obrador did not respond to requests for comment.