1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Biden, AMLO discuss fentanyl, migration at APEC

November 17, 2023

Biden is seeking support for measures to hinder the trafficking of the drug fentanyl, which is the cause of most overdoses in the United States. Mexico's president hailed the US for its "humane" migration policies.

US President Joe Biden (right) and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (left) at APEC 2023 summit on armchairs and in front of US and Mexican flags
US President Joe Biden met with Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on the sidelines of the APEC summitImage: Evan Vucci/AP Photo/dpa/picture alliance

US President Joe Biden met with Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday to discuss migration and drug trafficking.

Biden is to hold a final meeting with Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum leaders in San Francisco after speaking with Lopez Obrador, who is known as AMLO.

The US has for years been grappling with a drug overdose epidemic related to the opioid fentanyl. Biden's administration has developed policies that aim to deter migrants from crossing the border irregularly while also opening up legal pathways to enter the country.

Mexico became the largest US goods trading partner in the first half of the year, with trade totaling $396.6 billion (€363.4 billion). The previous year, Mexico had a goods trade surplus of $130.5 billion with its northern neighbor.

What did Biden and Lopez Obrador say?

"Mexico and the United States stand together," Biden said. "We see it in our security cooperation, we're working side-by-side to combat arms trafficking, to tackle organized crime and to address the opioid epidemic, including fentanyl."

Lopez Obrador also underlined Mexico's commitment to tackling drug trafficking.

"As far as the fight against drugs goes, Mexico is committed to continue helping to prevent the entry of chemicals and fentanyl," he said. "We're very conscious of the damage it does to the youth of the United States."

Mexico's president described the relationship between the two countries as respectful and cooperative. He called Biden an "extraordinary president" and "a man with conviction" and praised his immigration policies.

He said that the Biden administration's policy of preventing illegal crossings while opening up more legal pathways was "a humane way to address the migration phenomenon."

What is the fentanyl epidemic in the US?

The meeting comes two days after Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, after which they agreed China would hinder the export of items related to fentanyl production. The drug is a leading cause of overdoses in the US.

More than 100,000 deaths a year have been linked to overdoses since 2020, around two-thirds of which are related to fentanyl.

Most of the chemicals needed to make fentanyl come from China. The drugs are then produced in Mexico and trafficked to the US via cartels.

sdi/sms (Reuters, AP)