Mexico's Lopez Obrador says he will meet Trump in July


Mexico City (AFP)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday he expects to meet with US counterpart Donald Trump in early July to kick-start the new North American trade deal.

"It's very probable that I will go to Washington and meet president Trump and that will be soon. We are just waiting to define the character of the meeting," said Lopez Obrador at his morning press conference.

The two leaders have not met in person since Lopez Obrador assumed the presidency in December 2018.

Lopez Obrador said his government hopes that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also attend the meeting, with the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) among the three North American countries due to come into force on July 1.

"In any case, we will attend because it's important for us to participate in the start of the deal, which I consider historic and very timely."

The meeting won't happen on July 1 as that's the date Lopez Obrador celebrates the anniversary his election victory, but he said it would come soon afterward.

On Tuesday, Trump said he expected to welcome Lopez Obrador to the White House "very soon."

Last month, Lopez Obrador said he expected to meet Trump in June or July and would thank him for supplying Mexico with more than 200 ventilators to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The three countries signed the trade agreement -- known as T-MEC in Spanish -- in November 2018 to replace, at Trump's insistence, the old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was launched in 1994.