During a two-day visit to Mexico, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, as well as a host of private sector executives, law enforcement officials, and Mexican central bank authorities.
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Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will visit Mexico on Tuesday as part of a mission to expand trade ties and increase collaboration with the Mexican government to combat drug trafficking along the southern U.S. border.
During the two-day visit, Yellen is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, as well as a host of private sector executives, law enforcement officials, and Mexican central bank authorities.
On Thursday she'll also sit down with Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Rogelio Ramirez.
The timing of the visit was notable as imports and exports between the U.S. and Mexico reached $600 billion through December 2023 after exceeding $850 billion the year before, according to data from the International Trade Administration.
Last month, the Treasury Department worked with Mexican authorities to impose sanctions on three Mexican individuals and more than a dozen Mexican entities linked to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, a major fentanyl trafficker in the Southwest.
Also in late November, the White House announced new trade pacts with Canada and Mexico in a wider effort to strengthen trade throughout the hemisphere through the Americas Partnership and several other international efforts as economies have bounced back in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of Yellen's primary goals will be to enhance the North American supply chain through a strategy known as "friendshoring," which involves both nations collaborating on industrial policies to strengthen economic ties.
Yellen would leverage the visit to exert pressure on Obrador to enact new economic policies that would build upon decades of bilateral cooperation that officially began with the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, and culminated in the modernized U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement of 2020 during the Trump administration.
The White House was hopeful that Yellen's visit would get Mexico to embrace more forward-looking economic strategies that would strengthen bilateral cooperation between the powers, according to The Hill.
Yellen was also scheduled to take part in an unveiling ceremony for a new coin worth 20 pesos to mark the 200th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico.
Yellen's visit also coincides with this week's launch of a Treasury Department's campaign against fentanyl, including a new "Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force" that aims to disrupt production of the deadly drug, while targeting the finances of Mexican drug cartels who produce it.
The administration has praised recent cooperation with Mexico in helping curb money laundering and other drug crimes, however, the country continues to be listed on the State Department's roster of jurisdictions plagued by drug-related financial crimes.