President Donald Trump received Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House. The presidents celebrated the launch of the new trade agreement between the two countries and Canada, known as USMCA.
Despite having received some criticism from their opponents prior to the meeting, the two leaders met and talked in a friendly manner, full of motivation and optimism for the future of both nations.
Both leaders promoted the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which went into effect on July 1 and replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), an agreement which President Trump has repeatedly criticized.
President Trump did not shy away from talking about Mexico and its U.S.-based citizens. “Our countries are linked by trade and travel, by history and culture, by faith and family. The United States is home to 36 million incredible Mexican American citizens. Mexican Americans uplift our communities, and they strengthen our churches and enrich every feature of national life. They are hardworking, incredible people. They are also great business men and women, and make up a big percentage of our small-business owners—and very successful. They’re very, very successful.”
He added, “The relationship between the United States and Mexico has never been closer than it is right now.”
When it was López Obrador’s turn to speak, he was no less cordial and respectful than President Trump: “We have received from you, President Trump, understanding and respect. People—some people thought that our ideological differences would inevitably lead to confrontations. Fortunately, this has not been the case. And I believe that, toward the future, there will be no motive or need to break our very good political relationship or the friendship between our two administrations.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 8, 2020
Despite the public differences in the political ideology of both presidents, López Obrador continued with his friendly speech, highlighting President Trump’s management: “What I mainly appreciate is that you have never sought to impose anything on us violating our sovereignty. Instead of the Monroe Doctrine, you have followed, in our case, the wise advice of the lustrous and prudent President George Washington who said, quote, ‘Nations should not take advantage of the unfortunate condition of other peoples.'”
This is López Obrador’s first visit to the White House, and curiously enough, his first international trip since he took office in November 2018. The Mexican president arrived in the United States on Tuesday, July 7, and, as the protocol indicates, he had to take a test to confirm that he was not infected with the CCP Virus.
Before heading to the White House where he met with President Trump and his entourage, he visited the Lincoln Memorial and a statue of former Mexican President Benito Juárez, where he paid tribute.
New trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA)
The USMCA agreement was originally signed on Nov. 30, 2018, but it was only now that it was implemented, delayed by the adjustments and revisions it has undergone since then.
The USMCA is not only a modernized update of NAFTA, but also seeks to adapt other agreements signed in recent months such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It also contains new elements on labor and environmental law issues that were not previously considered.
At yesterday’s meeting President Trump said of the USMCA, “Today we celebrate the historic victory we achieved together just days ago when NAFTA was officially terminated—one of the worst trade deals in history—and replaced with a brand-new, beautiful USMCA.”
“The USMCA includes groundbreaking labor protections for workers in both nations. This landmark agreement will bring countless jobs from overseas, back to North America, and our countries will be very big beneficiaries.” He added, “It’s the largest, fairest, and most advanced trade deal ever reached by any country, and it will bring enormous prosperity to both American and Mexican workers and Canada. We want to thank everybody.”
López Obrador also said, “Our region is inexplicably a region of trade deficits. (…) This new agreement seeks to reverse this imbalance through greater integration of our economies and improvements in the functioning of productive chains to recover the economic presence that North America has lost in the last five decades.”
President Trump has had some tense moments in his relationship with the Mexican government, however yesterday both presidents were heard speaking without grudges and with optimism about their future relationship.