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Biden Should Boost Mexico Migration to Curb Inflation, AMLO Says

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will use his White House visit this week to urge US President Joe Biden to allow more legal immigration, which he says would help curb inflation.

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Lopez Obrador, who traveled to Washington Monday, has long been calling for more Mexicans and other regional migrants to be allowed to enter the US for work. Before heading to the plane for a rare trip abroad, he argued that, with US companies struggling to find workers, immigrants can boost production and therefore supply of key goods.

“The workforce is just as important for a business as capital or activity, so if we want to tackle the economic crisis, we have to produce,” he said Monday at a daily press conference. “Inflation may have started circumstantially due to the pandemic and the war, but structurally it has to do with a lack of production.”

Central banks in both Mexico and the US have been raising interest rates in an effort to slow inflation, which is hovering around 8% in both countries. Mexico has made a deal with food distributors to keep prices down and has subsidized the cost of gasoline, but AMLO, as the president is known, has repeatedly spoken about the importance of an additional inflation deal with the US.

AMLO, who has made a point of prioritizing domestic travel over hand-shaking abroad, has previously met with Biden and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington D.C. and flown to the United Nations in New York. He will also meet with Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday and US and Mexican business leaders on Wednesday, including billionaire Carlos Slim, he said Monday.

Read More: AMLO to Meet US, Mexico Business Leaders Including Slim in DC

As is his custom, AMLO on Monday flew to the US in economy class. His most recent trip was to Central America and Cuba in May.

Tuesday’s meeting is seen as a chance to mend fences weeks after Lopez Obrador rejected an invitation to go to the Summit of the Americas in the US, on the grounds that the Biden administration should have invited the leaders of countries including Cuba and Venezuela. Now security plans and development assistance remain on the agenda for the countries’ leaders.

Mexico’s energy policy has also been a sticking point, after the US spent part of last year entreating Mexican lawmakers not to pass electricity reforms intended to strengthen the state utility. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said that $10 billion in US investments are at risk in Mexico, which could provoke further confrontation under the USMCA trade agreement.

(Update on AMLO’s travel, agenda, and discussion topics starting in second paragraph.)

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