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N. America leaders pledge cooperation on chips, drugs

US President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador meet at the National Palace during the North American leaders summit in Mexico City, Mexico Jan 9, 2023. (KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS)

MEXICO CITY — The United States, Mexico and Canada will take steps to promote the North American semiconductor industry, enhance cooperation to root out lethal drugs, and improve legal pathways for migrants, the White House said on Tuesday.

In a statement issued to coincide with a North American leaders summit in Mexico City, the White House said the three countries would in early 2023 organize a semiconductor forum to increase investment in the strategic hi-tech industry.

The three leaders will meet on Tuesday for a trilateral summit at the National Palace in Mexico City before issuing public statements

This would mean coordinating semiconductor supply chain mapping to identify needs and investment opportunities in making chips that are used in everything from phones to defense, the statement said.

READ MORE: Semiconductor industry to overcome challenges

The industry has long been dominated by Asia, and disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic caused havoc among North American supply chains.

US President Joe Biden, his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have vowed to deepen regional economic integration as they gear up for a trilateral meeting on Tuesday.

The three leaders will meet on Tuesday for a trilateral summit at the National Palace in Mexico City before issuing public statements. Biden and Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting earlier the day.

Biden and Lopez Obrador held a bilateral meeting on Monday where the two leaders discussed stronger economic ties, fighting the illegal drug trade, and approaches to curbing illegal migration at a meeting in Mexico City, the White House said.

The White House said the three were committed to reducing methane emissions from solid waste and wastewater by at least 15 percent by 2030 from 2020 levels. They would also create a virtual platform to give migrants streamlined access to legal pathways.

READ MORE: New era for China’s chip sector

"This will give potential migrants the information they need to come to Mexico, the United States, and Canada lawfully – making them less likely to rely on smugglers," it said.

Turning to efforts to crack down on drug smuggling, the White House said that under the North American Drug Dialogue (NADD) the three allies would adopt an "updated strategic framework" to address threats posed by banned narcotics.

This would include greater information-sharing on chemicals used to make drugs including fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has been blamed for thousands of US overdose deaths.