North American leaders to curb methane, boost vaccines: Officials

The leaders of Canada, Mexico and the US are set to hold their first joint meeting in five years.

Agreement to address climate change among announcements expected at North American leaders' meeting [File: Matthew Brown/AP Photo]

Canada, Mexico and the US are set to agree to curbs on methane and a boost to COVID-19 vaccine donations during the first leaders’ meeting in five years, senior officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden told reporters.

The US officials, who spoke on background, said the three countries are expected to agree to cut methane emissions in their oil-and-gas sectors by 60 to 75 percent by 2030 during their meeting in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Canada and Mexico are also set to announce plans to donate millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines – initially loaned to them by the US – to other countries, one of the officials said.

The deals are part of a larger effort by Biden to revive the so-called Three Amigos, a North American working group abandoned by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Washington wants to shore up alliances with the neighbouring countries to help reorient the economy to a lighter carbon footprint, fight the pandemic, ease immigration pressures and compete with China, the officials said.

With an eye towards the Asian superpower, the leaders are set to commit to prohibiting the import of goods made with forced labour. Activists and Western politicians have accused China of using forced labour in its northwestern Xinjiang province, an allegation Beijing denies.

The Biden administration will also move to shore up supply chain issues and move the country away from dependence on raw materials and products from China, which they regard as the country’s main competitor.

As part of the meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the US president is expected to launch a North American supply chain working group to address concerns including where to obtain the critical minerals needed to make the US a powerhouse in developing electric vehicles (EVs), the officials said.

Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico are expected to address concerns about Biden’s “Buy American” provisions and a proposed electric-vehicle tax credit that would favour unionised, US-based manufacturers.

The US is Canada’s and Mexico’s top trade partner, and cars and trucks are the most-traded manufactured product between the three. Canada and Mexico are expected to seek a level playing field as they compete to lure companies to set up plants for the EV supply chain.

Source: News Agencies


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