Biden hosts Mexico, Canada at summit

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US President Joe Biden has hosted Canadian and Mexican leaders for the first North American summit in five years in a bid to revitalise co-operation overshadowed by tension over Biden's 'Buy American' agenda, and immigration.

Biden met separately at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and then all three met together.

The talks were aimed at finding common ground among the three neighbours bound by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement, which governs $US1.5 trillion ($A2.1 trillion) a year in North American trade.

But disputes over the auto industry, Biden's 'Buy American' policies and a Mexican electricity bill weighed on the summit.

The US and Canada appeared at an impasse over a US proposal for tax credits on US-made electric vehicles, which Ottawa says violates trade agreements.

While no major breakthroughs were announced, Biden had hoped to make headway on the thorniest challenges, including easing immigration pressures, reducing trade friction, recovering from the global pandemic and competing better with an increasingly assertive China.

"Our North American vision for the future draws on our shared strengths," Biden said.

"We have to end the pandemic and take decisive action to curb the climate crisis. We have to drive an inclusive economic recovery.

"We have to manage the challenge of unprecedented migration in our hemisphere."

Following the summit, the White House announced agreements to develop a North American strategy to reduce methane and a pledge for all three countries to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The summit is a result of a push by Biden to revive the so-called Three Amigos, a working group ditched by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The leaders will reconvene in Mexico next year, the White House said.

Trump had especially fraught dealings with Trudeau, imposing tariffs on some Canadian goods and sometimes hurling insults at the Canadian premier.

The leftist Lopez Obrador forged a working relationship with Trump despite the Republican president's economic threats and insulting references to Mexican migrants.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Lopez Obrador explained during the talks why he was pursuing legislation to priority to Mexico's state-owned power utility over private firms, but added it was not a central issue.

Sitting alongside Biden, Lopez Obrador thanked him for proposals that could improve the lot of many immigrants to the United States.

The fate of any Biden immigration initiative remains uncertain, though, in the US Congress.

Sounding an alarm about China, Lopez Obrador said during the three-way meeting that greater North American economic integration, including "stopping the rejection of migrants" needed for the US and Canadian labour forces, would be the best way to face "the productive and commercial expansion of China".

Lopez Obrador's suggestion echoed Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier's call for the United States to "buy North American" instead of adopting protectionist measures.

Canada and Mexico are worried about Biden's "Buy American" provisions and a proposed electric-vehicle tax credit that would favour unionised, US-based manufacturers.

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