© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Flags of Mexico, United States and Canada are pictured at a security booth at Zaragoza-Ysleta border crossing bridge, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
By Trevor Hunnicutt, Steve Scherer and Matt Spetalnick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Canadian and Mexican leaders on Thursday for the first North American summit in five years in a bid to revitalize cooperation that has been over-shadowed 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 neighbors bound together by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement, which governs some $1.5 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 United States and Canada appeared at an impasse over a U.S. proposal for tax credits on U.S.-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 with America’s two neighbors, 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, sitting at a long table that allowed the leaders to maintain distance in keeping with COVID-19 protocols.
“We have to end the pandemic and take decisive action to curb the climate crisis. We have to drive an inclusive economic recovery,” Biden said. “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.
Resetting ties with Mexico and Canada is part of Biden’s effort to turn the page on the Trump era, shifting away from his predecessor’s strident go-it-alone approach. 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 that would give priority to Mexico’s state-owned power utility over private firms, but added it was not a central issue.
Nearly 10 months after taking office, Biden could use a diplomatic win. He faces sagging approval ratings and is trying to tamp down inflation and supply chain issues while grappling with record numbers of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Biden is under domestic pressure to contain that immigration, which Republican opponents have derided as an “open border” policy, and he needs Mexico’s cooperation.
In brief remarks to reporters during bilateral talks, Biden – holding his first in-person meeting with Lopez Obrador since taking office – said migration was among the main issues they were tackling but did not elaborate.
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 remained uncertain in the U.S. Congress.
Ebrard said the United States had agreed to invest https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-says-us-has-agreed-invest-help-tackle-migration-2021-11-19 in Central America and southern Mexico to help curb migration.
The leaders also committed to banning imports of goods made with forced labor, a policy Biden’s administration has aimed at China. Activists and Western politicians accuse China of using forced labor in its western Xinjiang region, an allegation Beijing denies.
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 U.S. and Canadian labor 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.
The Mexican president warned North America could be headed for an “unacceptable imbalance” of economic power with China that “would keep alive the temptation of trying to resolve this disparity by use of force.”
The Biden administration has taken a tough rhetorical line with Beijing on a range of issues, though a virtual summit between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping this week sought to lower the temperature.
Canada has also had rocky relations with China.
Both Canada and Mexico are worried about Biden’s “Buy American” provisions and a proposed electric-vehicle tax credit that would favor unionized, U.S.-based manufacturers.
The credit is included in the sweeping $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” legislation that was also being voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
Canada says the tax credit would violate USMCA rules. The White House insisted on Thursday that it does not.
In remarks to reporters following the summit, Trudeau said the American side heard Canada’s concerns about the credit very clearly and Canada would continue to pursue the issue.
U.S. increased forecasts for crude oil and natural gas production in the country in 2022
Crude oil and natural gas production will be raised. The U.S. Energy Department raised its 2022 domestic crude oil production (excluding other liquid hydrocarbons) forecast from 11.83 million to 11.87 million barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its monthly forecast. The forecast is 0.62 million bpd higher than the 2021 result.
The agency also slightly increased its 2023 production forecast by 30,000 bpd, to 12.34 million bpd. It is close to the annual average. This figure is close to the average annual record for oil production in the United States, set in 2019, – 12.3 million bpd.
Also, the Department of Energy slightly raised its 2022 and 2023 U.S. gas production forecasts. Gas production will be 98.13 Bcf/d in 2022 and 100.38 Bcf/d in 2023 (nearly 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year).
The previous forecast had assumed production of 98.07 and 99.69 Bcf/d, respectively. In 2021, the country produced 94.6 Bcf/d of gas.
While the EIA still expects gas production in the Permian Basin to be constrained in early 2023, it anticipates that these constraints will be removed sooner than previously projected, although risks remain.
The Department of Energy expects natural gas prices to rise from their November level of $5.5 per MMBtu to over $6 per MMBtu in Q1 2023 because of both higher winter demand for natural gas and increased LNG exports. This will impact crude oil and gas prices.
U.S. LNG exports are expected to be 10.6 Bcf/d in 2022, up from 10.85 Bcf/d a month ago, and rising to 12.25 Bcf/d in 2023 (nearly 145 Bcf/d); the previous forecast of 12.33 Bcf/d.
Earlier we reported that the Expert revealed the reason for the sharp fall in oil prices.
The expert revealed the reason for the crude oil price chart dump
World oil prices have fallen to the level of early January, as expectations of a sharp decline in oil supplies from Russia after the start of the embargo and more aggressive actions by OPEC+ to maintain prices have not materialized. This is the reason for the crude oil price chart dump.
Live crude oil price in dollars – what’s going on?
On Wednesday, Brent crude oil prices fell below $78 a barrel for the first time since January 3. February futures are trading at $79.6 a barrel.
Prices were probably driven by expectations of a sharp drop in oil supplies from Russia due to the embargo, and more aggressive action by OPEC+ to maintain prices; i.e., production cuts. Neither of these things happened; OPEC+ decided on Sunday not to change its production quota and, judging by media reports, Russian companies prepared for the embargo, including tanker fleet acquisitions.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday, citing oil traders, intermediaries and vessel-tracking services, that a traffic jam of oil tankers has formed off the Turkish coast since the start of restrictions on oil prices from Russia due to Ankara’s requirements to provide insurance data. According to the expert, a delay in the passage of ships could have led to an increase in oil prices on expectations of a shortage, but this has not happened yet.
According to marinetraffic, a ship-tracking portal, there are about 30 tankers, mostly Turkish, off the Turkish coast near the strait. Five tankers out of this number are Russian. Russia is concerned about the situation off the coast of Turkey, where Russian oil tankers have piled up; this problem is now being discussed through transport and insurance companies. but it may also be taken up at a political level.
Western oil sanctions came into effect on December 5: The European Union stopped accepting Russian oil transported by, and so also the “Big Seven” countries. Australia and the EU, imposed a price cap on such oil at $60 per barrel. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Sunday that Russia is considering possible mechanisms to ban the application of the price ceiling for Russian oil supplies.
Earlier, we reported that oil prices fell before the release of statistics on inventories in the U.S.
Crude oil prices today declined before the release of U.S. inventory statistics
World oil prices on Wednesday afternoon moved to some decrease, according to trading data. Markets are waiting for weekly statistics on commercial oil reserves in the U.S.
Brent crude oil prices were down 0.67% to $78.82 per barrel, while WTI January futures decreased 0.67% to $73.75. Oil prices were weak in the morning.
Later Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy will report data on the country’s commercial oil inventories for the week through December 2. Analysts believe the figure fell by 3.3 million barrels. On Wednesday night, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said it estimates a 6.4 million-barrel decline in inventories.
Crude oil prices today continue to be affected by uncertainty regarding the prospects of oil supplies. From December 5, the oil sanctions of the West came into effect: the European Union stopped accepting Russian oil transported by sea; also the G7 countries. Australia and the EU imposed a price cap on such oil at $60 per barrel.
The Russian authorities are developing three possible responses. The first one is a complete ban on sales to the countries that supported the restriction, including through intermediary countries or even their chain; the second one is a ban on exports under contracts that include a price ceiling condition; and the third one introduces an indicative price – the maximum discount of Russian Urals oil to the benchmark Brent grade, and a ban on selling at a higher discount.
Earlier we reported on the Big Tanker Jam in the Bosphorus due to the price cap on Russian oil.
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