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Mexican president says won't meet Biden during US trip

By AFP

Added 1st July 2020 09:49 AM

Analysts and diplomats have criticized the Mexican leader for traveling to Washington so close to the November US presidential elections and believe the visit could be used by Trump to boost his campaign.

Mexican president says won't meet Biden during US trip

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AFP PHOTO)

Analysts and diplomats have criticized the Mexican leader for traveling to Washington so close to the November US presidential elections and believe the visit could be used by Trump to boost his campaign.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday ruled out a meeting with Democratic candidate Joe Biden during his upcoming visit to Washington.

Lopez Obrador told reporters it was a working trip focused on launching USMCA -- a North American trade agreement that replaced NAFTA -- and meeting presidential frontrunner Biden would be "inappropriate" in the circumstances.

"I am going to witness the beginning of the treaty that I believe will help the three countries a lot... For that reason, I cannot speak, or it would not be correct, appropriate, to speak with candidates because this is a working visit," the president told his daily news conference.

Lopez Obrador has previously voiced hope that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also attend the meeting with US President Donald Trump. The trade agreement is due to come into force on July 1.

The leftist leader will fly to Washington from July 8-9, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Tuesday.

The trip will be Lopez Obrador's first foreign visit since assuming office in December 2018, and his first meeting with Trump.

Analysts and diplomats have criticized the Mexican leader for traveling to Washington so close to the November US presidential elections and believe the visit could be used by Trump to boost his campaign.

But Lopez Obrador insisted it was a non-political meeting focussed on the trade pact.

The government hopes the treaty will help move Mexico out of the economic doldrums, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mexico's central bank estimates GDP could fall by almost 9.0 percent this year, while the IMF has forecast a drop of 10.5 percent.

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