While the talks are not expected to be contentious, there are some sticking points, including over auto manufacturing and a Canadian oil pipeline.
It’s the first such summit — which have come to be known as the “Three Amigos” summit — since 2016, reviving a forum shunned by former President Donald Trump. It comes a few weeks after Biden reopened US land borders to fully vaccinated travelers, ending a nearly 20-month closure that had caused tensions with both nations.
Before he meets jointly with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden will meet each leader individually to discuss bilateral issues. They are not expected to hold a joint press conference, unlike the previous eight North American Leaders summits held since 2005.
As Biden works to promote the landmark infrastructure law he signed this week, some of the provisions including in a larger climate and social spending plan are causing consternation among the United States’ neighbors.
Specifically, proposed electric vehicle tax credits included in the “Build Back Better” plan would favor US manufacturers, causing concerns about protectionist policies. Trudeau and Mexican officials have voiced concern about the proposed tax credits.
Other issues have caused some tension among neighbors, including Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline, which the state of Michigan wants to shut down, and Mexico’s overhaul of its electricity industry.
But the leaders will still put on a cooperative face as the “Three Amigos” format is restored.
One of the main announcements to come from the talks will be an agreement on Covid-19 vaccine donations. Earlier this year, the United States lent doses to both countries, and on Thursday they will “return” them by donating millions of vaccines to countries in the Western Hemisphere.
They’ll also build on efforts to compile regional pandemic preparedness plans and discuss the best ways to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine in Latin America.
The leaders will announce a new group focused on supply chain resiliency, pledge to reduce emissions like methane and reaffirm support for labor protections included in the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal signed during the Trump administration.
The leaders also hope to rebuild relationships that had gone dormant in the previous administration, including a high-level security dialogue.
Migration will naturally come up, though senior US administration officials said the focus will be on developing a regional approach to the issue and not specifically about the US southern border.
One official said Biden hoped to “lock arms” with Canada and Mexico to address displacement issues they acknowledge will not wane anytime soon. They hope to address root causes like lack of job opportunities and the effects of climate change.