Exclusive-Biden plans in-person summit with Trudeau, Lopez Obrador as soon as next week -sources

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FILE PHOTO: Nov 8, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; U.S. President Joe Biden walks before welcoming the Milwaukee Bucks to the South Lawn of the White House to honor the team for its NBA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

November 9, 2021

By David Ljunggren and Dave Graham

OTTAWA/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden is planning to host an in-person meeting with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, the first of its kind in more than five years, four people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Final details were still being worked out, they said, but if it goes ahead it would most likely be some time during the week of Nov. 15 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 energy, trade and immigration.

A senior Biden administration official said “stay tuned”, when asked about a potential meeting including Biden and Lopez Obrador.

The leaders of the three nations started holding what is informally known as the Three Amigos summit in 2005 and met most years until 2016 The practice ended when U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

Immigration on the U.S. southern border with Mexico has reached record levels, and Mexico wants the U.S. to invest more to stem it.

The three countries are bound together by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement that governs 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 declined comment. The offices of Lopez Obrador and Trudeau did not respond to requests for comment.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool)

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