LOS ANGELES—President Joe Biden pushed neighboring countries to work together to reach climate goals, improve supply chains, and oversee safe and orderly migration during his second day at the 9th Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
During his address to open the conference June 9, the president told attendees he expected the world to change greatly in the next decade. The challenge would be to shape outcomes to reflect democratic values in the region, he said.
“For all of us to prosper, I really believe there is nothing we’re unable to do,” Biden told business and international leaders. “I find no reason why the Western Hemisphere over the next 10 years is not developed into the most democratic hemisphere in the world, the most democratic region in the entire world.”
Biden has received criticism this year for his handling of many issues as the United States continues to deal with runaway inflation, record fuel prices, and a steady flow of migrants at the southern border—saying he is managing to address these crises.
“I’m bringing supply chains closer to home. I’m forging innovation and developing a shared framework for our digital future,” Biden said. “I’m kicking our action on climate change into high gear and speeding our clean energy transition.”
Biden also said he was bolstering the Western Hemisphere’s health systems and food security but did not elaborate.
“I’m managing safe and orderly migration as a shared responsibility through innovative and coordinated action to enforce our borders and stabilize migrant populations while seizing the shared opportunity for economic growth,” Biden told attendees.
Los Angeles hosted the summit this week to promote a green and equitable recovery from the pandemic, officials said. This is the second time the United States has hosted the event that former President Bill Clinton started in Miami in 1994.
Climate and pro-abortion activists protested the president after he arrived in downtown at the Los Angeles Convention Center. A Secret Service agent arrested one pro-abortion protestor after she ran up on the president’s motorcade with a bull horn the night before.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador boycotted the event after the United States declined to invite Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Mexico’s president sent the country’s foreign minister to attend the meetings. He plans to meet with Biden in July to discuss immigration.
Bilateral Meetings Planned
During the summit, Biden was scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Biden and Trudeau will discuss how to strengthen cooperation with Canada on economic development, the pandemic, migration, and more, according to the White House.
Biden and Bolsonaro will reaffirm the importance of the two nations’ strategic partnership on issues such as combating the climate crisis and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House said.
The president and Vice President Kamala Harris were also meeting with leaders of Caribbean nations Thursday. Harris was tapped to lead a new partnership with Caribbean nations to address the “climate crisis.”
“As neighbors in the western hemisphere, the United States shares common bonds and interests with the Caribbean nations,” Harris said. “Our partnership is key to our shared prosperity and security.”
The United States would work to identify new clean energy projects, provide technical assistance to make sure the projects are viable, and bring investors to the Caribbean to showcase the projects. The administration also plans to improve access to development financing, Harris said.
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community Carla Barnett said the pandemic has set many Caribbean countries back economically with double-digit declines in the last few years.
“It’s had a really disproportionate impact on the already overwhelmed socio-economic fabric of the Caribbean,” Barnett said. “There is overwhelming evidence that the pandemic disrupted every segment of society.”
Energy security is a critical matter for the Caribbean community, Barnett said.
Local leaders also participated in the conference.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti welcomed attendees June 8 to Los Angeles, which he called a “city of belonging, built by dreamers and doers from every corner of the hemisphere.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also took part in the welcoming event, telling the audience, “You are in one of the most diverse cities—Los Angeles, in the most diverse region, in the most diverse state—California, in the world’s most diverse democracy. And we’re proud of that. We don’t tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.”
New Public Health Corps
During his first speech at the opening of the inaugural ceremony the day before, Biden spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s an enormous tragedy that has left too many families grief-stricken,” Biden told attendees.
Earlier that day, the administration announced a new U.S. Public Health Corps with 50,000 public health and medical professionals being trained in the region over the next five years, to help strengthen the health systems in the hemisphere, Biden said.
He also announced a collaboration among the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Mexico to increase food production for export and increase fertilizer production for transportation.
The president also announced a new “America’s Partnership for Economic Property to bolster long-term economic competitiveness in the United States.
“When we invest in strengthening workers and the middle class, the poor have a ladder up, and those at the top do just fine. That’s how we can increase opportunity and decrease persistent inequity,” Biden said.
Leaders were expected to launch a Los Angeles declaration Friday to provide a new approach to managing migration and sharing responsibility across the hemisphere.
The declaration is expected to include a mutual commitment to invest in regional solutions that enhance stability, increase opportunities for safe and orderly migration through the region and crack down on criminal and human trafficking.
“Safe and orderly migration is good for all our economies, including the United States,” Biden said. “It can be a catalyst for sustainable growth. But all unlawful migration is not acceptable. We will enforce our borders, including through innovative, coordinated action with our regional partners.”
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will welcome heads of state and government and their spouses for a dinner at Getty Villa Thursday night.
City News Service contributed to this report.