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NAM: At Mexico summit, Obama reaffirms commitment to new trade agreements

The AP (2/20, Kuhnhenn) reports that President Barack Obama, who was in Mexico on Wednesday for a one-day North American Leaders’ Summit, reaffirmed his commitment to new trade agreements. President Obama “sought to reassure leaders of Mexico and Canada…of his commitment to new trade agreements between Asia, the Pacific and the Americas, even as he faces political resistance in the US from members of his own Democratic party.” In a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Obama said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership “offers the opportunity to open up new markets in the fastest, most populous region of the world.” The AP notes that the Obama Administration hopes that negotiations over the TPP “are completed this year.”

USA Today (2/20, Agren) notes that the summit comes 20 years after the three nations signed NAFTA, and the leaders “said they wanted the agreement to go deeper and for merchandise to move more seamlessly between the countries.” After meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Pena Nieto, the President said, “We have every incentive to make this work so a lot of our conversation is focused on, ‘How do we reduce any continuing trade frictions? … We want to make sure that we are partners and allies in this process and that people understand what this means in terms of job creation in the United States.”

McClatchy (2/20, Johnson, Subscription Publication) reports that “little tangible” came out of the summit and notes that the “overall atmosphere…was cool, a sign of the strains that separate the leaders and have slowed momentum to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

The Washington Post (2/20, Nakamura) also covers the story.

Keystone XL Pipeline A Source Of Tension At Mexico Summit. The AP (2/20) reports on the day of talks between President Barack Obama, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper held in Toluca, Mexico on Wednesday. It says there was “widespread agreement on trade” issues like the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, although US immigration reform and Keystone XL caused some tension. Speaking on the pipeline, President Obama defended the slow and “extensive” review process, saying this is “how we make these decisions about something that could potentially have significant impact on America’s national economy and our national interests.’” Harper, a Keystone supporter, reportedly said the State Department concluded that the pipeline would not increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Noting that Obama and Harper met privately while in Toluca, Bloomberg News (2/20, Keane) reports that the Canadian leader later said the two countries “share similar goals on limiting greenhouse gases.”

Reuters (2/19, Rampton, Holland, Felsenthal, Gardner), The Hill (2/20, Sink) “E2 Wire” blog, and other media sources also cover the story.

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