U.S. President Joe Biden will host leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean at the White House on Friday to discuss economic issues and migration as he seeks to bolster ties in the region to counter China and other global competitors.
Leaders from Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay are expected to attend Friday’s gathering, as well as representatives from Mexico and Panama.
The inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP) Leaders’ Summit comes as Biden’s foreign policy agenda is dominated by the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and Ukraine’s bid to repel Russian invaders.
The United States is expected to announce new development financing for countries hosting migrants in the Western Hemisphere as part of an effort to curb migrant arrivals at the U.S-Mexico border and expand economic cooperation in the region.
The summit follows a similarly themed meeting of Western Hemisphere leaders in Los Angeles last year, part of a broader push aimed at strengthening regional economic ties and reducing China’s influence in the region.
At the “Summit of the Americas” in Los Angeles last year, Biden signed a non-binding declaration where 20 countries from the region agreed to a set of measures to confront the migration crisis.
Record numbers of migrants have crossed illegally into the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, with hundreds of thousands of people heading north after passing through a perilous jungle region known as the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)