Analysis-Security, Migration Energy Dispute at Biden Mexico Summit According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden’s motorcade passes in front of the Independence Angel monument as he arrives for the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City, Mexico, January 8, 2023 REUTERS / Luis Cortes

By Dave Graham

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart this week pledged to work together to tackle drug trafficking, illegal immigration and promote economic integration – while remaining quiet. perhaps overcame a major energy dispute.

Not for the first time, the leaders of the two countries have found common ground in managing their shared border, leaving unanswered questions about the rift that thematic energy policies have caused. Mexican nationalism has wrought with the United States and Canada.

Biden opened his visit to the Mexican capital with a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, and during the summit that followed, he thanked Mexico for helping to stop illegal border crossings and trafficking in fentanyl, a type of drug. Deadly opium is believed to be the cause of the deaths of thousands of Americans.

US officials have said that the energy dispute will be discussed in the negotiations, but neither Biden nor Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador mentioned the issue in public statements about the matter. their meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The U.S. government appears reluctant to confront Mexico over energy, analysts say, for fear of meddling in border and security cooperation, two much larger internal U.S. problems. analysts said.

“There was a view that the Mexican government had control over the border and I think that stopped the US government from acting and putting pressure, when at another time, as a partner, they would has the right,” said Sergio Alcocer, a former deputy police chief of Mexico. foreign minister, talking about energy goods.

The US State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Under pressure from Republican opponents to curb record illegal border crossings, the administration of Biden, a Democrat, has focused much of its dealings with Mexico on security. border security.

Illegal border crossings hit a record in 2022, and the United States last week announced new plans that would allow it to send more migrants back to Mexico under terms originally put in place under the former president. United States Donald Trump.

Trump has threatened Mexico with trade tariffs if that doesn’t stop the flow of migrants, but he has done little to condemn Lopez Obrador for energy policies that American companies say are unfair. Only under Biden have formal steps been taken to challenge them.

Lopez Obrador has made the consolidation of Mexico’s state-owned energy companies a cornerstone of his administration, prioritizing the national electricity company Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) over private companies in connecting. connect power plants to the grid.

Washington and Ottawa say his actions discriminated against their companies and violated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

CFE and state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) rely heavily on fossil fuels, and prioritizing them over private solar and wind companies has reduced the appetite of fossil fuels. investors for Mexico amid an effort to wrest business from Asia.

Lopez Obrador has compromised on some economic policies, introducing a possible GM corn ban in the next administration, but he has dipped his hand into the energy sector, seeing his actions as sane. national sovereignty.

The United States, then Canada, launched dispute resolution proceedings against Mexico in July and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who held talks with Biden and Lopez Obrador on Tuesday, raised concerns about energy with Mexico on Wednesday.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has marked that energy will not be prominent in the US-Mexico-Canada talks, saying a settlement process is underway and the leaders do not want to turn the summit into apex into a dispute council.

Two Mexican officials said there was little progress in the energy dispute between Mexico and Washington this week.

Asked on Wednesday about progress made in the dispute, US Ambassador Ken Salazar said consultations aimed at resolving the issue were ongoing and urged the two countries to work together on harnessing renewable energy. .

At a press conference following Tuesday’s trilateral meeting, all three leaders were asked by a reporter if they discussed energy as part of a series of questions.

Lopez Obrador answered several questions before beginning a lengthy speech that revolved around many of his usual talking points. Then he ended the press conference.

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