The summit is timed to coincide with the entry into force of the new North American trade agreement.
US President Donald Trump is meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for the first time on Wednesday.
The meeting is officially billed as a celebration of the new North American trade agreement. Still, it may be overshadowed by disagreements over illegal immigration and investment in the Mexican energy sector.
Lopez Obrador is accompanied by a delegation of businessmen, including Mexico’s richest man, telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim. On Wednesday evening, they will attend a reception at the White House with prominent representatives of American business.
One of the main topics of the talks is likely to be Mexico’s attitude to Trump’s immigration policy, as well as minimizing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on trade between the two countries, whose economies are closely linked.
It is unclear whether Trump will address the issue of disputes between American companies and the Mexican government, which decided to cancel the 2013-14 reforms and return the energy sector to state control, which raised questions about the fate of many large contracts.
According to a senior Trump administration official, the Mexican government has promised to keep these contracts in force.
“Of course, we hope that they will keep their word,” the source told reporters.
Lopez Obrador, making an official visit to a foreign country for the first time since his election in 2018, flew to Washington on an economy class commercial flight. One of the videos posted on Twitter on Tuesday shows him boarding a crowded plane wearing a mask.
The summit is timed to coincide with the entry into force of a
new trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which replaced the North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA).
Originally planned to be a two-day event, the summit was then shortened to one day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to participate due to new threats from the US to impose duties on Canadian goods.
Critics of Lopez Obrador and some American Democrats believe that Trump wants to use the meeting to boost his popularity among Latino voters ahead of the November presidential election. Polls show that a majority of Americans with Latino roots are leaning in favor of Trump’s likely rival, Democrat Joe Biden.
The Mexican leader does not meet with Biden during his visit.