PREVIEW - Trump, Mexican President Set For New NAFTA Celebration At White House

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th July, 2020) US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will meet at the White House on Wednesday where they are expected to discuss the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that recently went into effect in addition to mutual concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mexican president's trip to Washington will mark his first abroad since becoming president in December 2018. Lopez Obrador is traveling to the US capital on a commercial flight and will get tested for COVID-19 before meeting with Trump.

Lopez Obrador encouraged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit Washington as well since the USMCA will be the highlight at the meeting, but he declined. Instead, Trudeau said he would visit Mexico as soon as possible.

Trudeau declined the invitation because of the possibility of Washington re-imposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum and also due to the risk of contracting COVID-19, which is currently spreading rapidly throughout the United States.

The USMCA will be the emphasis of talks between Trump and Lopez Obrador after it went into effect July 1. The White House in a statement on Monday said the new trade agreement will increase global economic competitiveness as a region.

The trade deal is expected to add some $68 billion to the US GDP and create 176,000 new jobs in the country, according to reports.

Both leaders will also discuss efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak along the southern border.

The United States and Mexico recently agreed to extend restrictions that limit non-essential travel between the two countries to July 21 due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trump administration has also taken other actions on the southern border related to COVID-19 concerns, such as expediting the process of deporting migrants caught illegally crossing into the United States. The administration also halted US asylum proceedings for migrants waiting in Mexico under the Remain in Mexico policy.

More than a dozen members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had asked Trump to cancel his meeting with Lopez Obrador because they viewed it as an attempt to politicize the US-Mexico relationship and to distract from the pandemic. Trump declined to cancel.

The United States has nearly 3 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 130,750 deaths caused by the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.