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Harris welcomes revival of U.S., Mexico high-level talks on trade, immigration

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Harris welcomes revival of U.S., Mexico high-level talks on trade, immigration
Vice President Kamala Harris delivers opening remarks at the U.S.-Mexico high-level dialogue alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed increased collaboration between the United States and Mexico on Thursday as the nations revived high-level economic discussions.

Harris led the U.S. delegation in the practice that was initiated by President Joe Biden years ago when he was vice president as it returned following a five-year hiatus after it was shuttered by the Trump administration.

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"Our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, highlighting the importance of the partnership and the relationship between the United States and Mexico," she said.

Thursday's discussion were focused on four central pillars -- building on the nations' existing relationship, promoting sustainable economic and social development in southern Mexico and Central America, securing tools for future prosperity and investing in people.

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Thursday's talks were also designed to help both countries recover from COVID-19, build climate resilience, partner on security and address the root causes of illegal migration.

"I am confident that our nations will continue to work together that our companies will continue to create jobs together and that our people will enjoy greater prosperity and a greater quality of life," said Harris.

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Along with Harris, the U.S. delegation included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

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The Mexican delegation included Secretary of External Relations Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Esteban Moctezuma and Undersecretary of Finance and Public Credit Gabriel Yorio.

Biden first launched the talks under President Barack Obama in 2013. At the time, he said there was "no reason why our partnership, the U.S.-Mexico partnership, should not be among the strongest that we have."

The summit, which is designed to increase competition and spur economic activity in both nations, continued until 2016 when they were shelved by former President Donald Trump.

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Relations between Mexico City and Washington, D.C., became somewhat strained under Trump, due mainly to the former president's boastful insistence that the United States would build a wall along the southern border and that Mexico would pay for it.

Later, Trump, Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which formally replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. The USMCA took effect in 2020.

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At the talks Thursday, Mexico was expected to raise concerns about content requirements in the automotive industry in the deal that could reduce competitiveness, increase costs and make Mexico less attractive to investors.

Another holdover from the Trump era that was expected to play a role in the discussions is an immigration policy that says migrants headed for the United States must stay in Mexico or some other country while their applications are under review.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Biden's government must reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy.

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