The Latest: Mexico’s Next Leader Delivers Plan to Pompeo

07/13/2018 The New York Times

andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct051The Latest on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Cabinet-level delegation’s meetings with officials in Mexico City (all times EDT):

4:15 p.m.

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has given a high-level U.S. delegation a proposal for how the two countries can work together on key areas of cooperation.

That’s according to Marcelo Ebrard, whom Lopez Obrador has chosen to be foreign relations secretary after he takes office Dec. 1.

Ebrard says the proposal covers four main pillars of the relationship: commerce, development, security and migration. He adds that details will be made public only after it is in U.S. President Donald Trump’s hands.

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U.S. Delegation and Mexico’s Next President Aim to Reset Relations

07/13/2018 The New York Times

amlo monterreySecretary of State Mike Pompeo led a high-level cabinet delegation to Mexico City on Friday to gauge how Mexico’s president-elect intends to reset the fractious relationship between the two countries.

The president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leftist who has pledged to fight corruption and tackle Mexico’s entrenched poverty, was ready for the delegation. He handed Mr. Pompeo a series of proposals on trade, development, security and migration — the issues that are at the heart of the relationship and the source of much of the friction.

Despite the tensions, which have grown under President Trump, Marcelo Ebrard, who will be the next foreign minister, said that he had “reasonable optimism” that Mexico would find “bases for understanding” to improve the relationship.

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U.S. envoy emphasizes need for border security on visit to Mexico

07/13/2018 Reuters

border patrolOn his first visit to Mexico as the top U.S. diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday he “respectfully reinforced” the need to address border security between the two neighbors while acknowledging that America drove demand for illicit drugs.

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Pompeo heads high-level U.S. delegation to meet Mexico’s next leader

07/12/2018 Reuters

us mex flagU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior Trump administration officials will meet with Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday, hoping to make early strides on divisive issues like immigration, trade and security.

At a time of heightened tensions between the two neighbors, Pompeo will lead a high-level delegation composed of Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They aim to build on Trump’s phone call with Lopez Obrador on July 2, a senior State Department official said on Thursday.

“The whole goal of Secretary Pompeo’s trip is to advance that positive agenda and to work with the Mexican government across all of the issue areas where we can make progress on,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Colombia, U.S., Mexico, Panama seek to combat Venezuelan corruption

07/12/2018 Reuters

Flag-Pins-Mexico-ColombiaColombia’s Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas on Thursday hosted a meeting with officials from Mexico, Panama, and the United States to share information on Venezuelan government officials suspected of corruption and their support networks.

During a meeting in the coastal city of Cartagena, the four nations agreed to expand cooperation to fight illegal financial networks in crisis-wracked Venezuela, according to the countries’ joint statement released by UIAF, Colombia’s government body that looks into suspicious money movements and sends them for investigation.

The OPEC nation has already been hit with economic sanctions by Canada, the United States and a number of other countries over issues ranging from human rights violations to corruption and drug trafficking.

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Nafta Talks Likely to Wait Beyond July Given Full Agendas

07/11/2018 Bloomberg

nafta_logo1Hopes for quickly resuming Nafta talks following Mexico’s election earlier this month may prove unrealistic due to scheduling conflicts for the top negotiators, according to three people familiar with the negotiations.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is set to go on vacation through July 22, according to the people, who asked not to be identified, while Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Europe this week. When Lighthizer returns, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will be busy at a Latin American trade summit.

Nafta talks reached an impasse in May after Lighthizer said Mexico’s pledges of flexibility over automotive wages and content weren’t enough. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then said that a planned meeting with President Donald Trump to potentially seal a Nafta deal collapsed after the U.S. insisted the meeting was conditional on adding an automatic termination clause.

Time is now running out to meet Freeland’s promise that negotiators would “make a real push over the summer,” though they could still meet in August when talks celebrate their first anniversary.

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Next NAFTA meeting likely in Washington at end of month: Mexican minister

07/11/2018 Reuters

37777977041_b2efc1d2ec_oThe next meeting about the North American Free Trade Agreement will likely take place in Washington during the last week of July, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an event in Mexico City, Guajardo said that he was working out the details of the meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“The responsibility that I have … is to seek out every opportunity to bring this agreement to a solution that works for everyone,” Guajardo said. “If there is room before the end of this administration, we will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to conclude (negotiations).”