Mexico dominates the diplomatic agenda of the United States, with a High-Level Dialogue this Friday, September 29th, in Washington on economic cooperation and another one next week in the Mexican capital on security, both cases will involve discussions on migration and fentanyl trafficking.
These dialogues serve as the “framework for cooperation” by allowing an assessment of progress and promoting “strategic priorities” for the next year, explained a U.S. government official who requested anonymity during a Thursday telephone press conference.
Both neighbors face challenges such as competition from China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in their goal to “make North America the most dynamic, competitive, and prosperous economic region in the world,” the official added.
But amid these challenges lie opportunities, such as clean energy and artificial intelligence, they said.
However, these good intentions encounter obstacles, such as the energy policy of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which will not be discussed in Washington, according to a U.S. official who requested anonymity, and Mexico’s decision to restrict imports of genetically modified corn.
Friday’s meeting is an opportunity to “have an open and clear discussion,” the official stated, without specifying whether the growing economic power wielded by the military in Mexico, where they manage airports, customs, and ports, will be addressed.
In the economic dialogue, launched in 2013 but interrupted during the Trump administration, the respective heads of diplomacy, the U.S.’ Antony Blinken, and Mexico’s Alicia Bárcena, as well as Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Alicia Buenrostro, and their U.S. counterparts, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, will participate.
All of them will seek to advance the agenda and define the “economic path for the 21st century” around emerging industries such as electric vehicle battery production, critical minerals, and “economies united by secure borders,” the official noted.
The situation at the common border is a contentious issue in the United States during the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, especially for Democratic President Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election and could face his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, in these elections.
It is also important for Mexico, which will choose López Obrador’s successor next year.
The neighbors are trying to coordinate their efforts to manage the crisis through agreements such as the one reached a few days ago, in which Mexico will deport migrants from its border cities to their home countries.
The number of migrants at the border is increasing. In August, the United States intercepted more than 180,000 individuals between ports of entry without the necessary documentation to enter.
The border also sparks heated debates regarding fentanyl trafficking, an opioid that killed tens of thousands of people in the United States in 2022.
According to the Biden administration, Mexican drug cartels manufacture it, and they are trying to combat it with a series of measures.
Republicans accuse Mexico of not doing enough, and some call for declaring the cartels as terrorist organizations to combat them wherever they are, even on Mexican territory.
One of the proponents of this idea is Trump, the favorite to represent the Republican Party in the 2024 elections. The second in the polls, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, also promises to “use the military” against Mexican cartels if elected.
These topics will come up again on October 5 during the High-Level Security Dialogue, which will be attended by Blinken, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and a White House security advisor from Washington.