Canadian Manufacturing

North American leaders to talk about vaccine sharing, labour shortages

As widely expected, the three leaders will be focused on the supply chain snarls that are hampering the post-pandemic economic recovery.

November 18, 2021  The Canadian Press

Canada and Mexico will redistribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses they received from the United States to other Western Hemisphere countries as a part of Nov. 18’s revived Three Amigos leaders’ summit.

Senior U.S. government officials outlined the measure in advance of Nov. 18’s meeting that President Joe Biden is hosting at the White House with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity as authorized briefers, offered advance details of the American priorities ahead of the first North American leaders’ summit since Canada hosted the last one five years ago.

Among those leaders only Trudeau remains, but an initiative that he announced with former U.S. president Barack Obama in Ottawa in 2016 is being revived by Biden — a North American working group on violence against Indigenous women and girls.

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The three leaders will also look at strengthening trilateral co-operation on the Western Hemisphere’s unprecedented migration crisis that has seen millions of asylum seekers from Central America crashing Mexico’s borders while Venezuela’s economic and political crisis is expected to produce six million refugees by the end of the year.

The exact details of the distribution are to be worked out later by public health experts, said the officials.

Given the labour shortages in North America, new approaches need to be found to match economic migrants with potential employment opportunities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, officials said.

As widely expected, the three leaders will be focused on the supply chain snarls that are hampering the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Canada is expected to be added to the U.S.-Mexico supply chain working group to make it a North American-wide effort aimed at minimizing future disruptions for the continent. The new working group will look at defining essential industries, including critical minerals, officials said.

Trudeau used his first day in Washington on Nov. 17 to talk up Canada’s competitive advantage on critical minerals, which are used in batteries for computers, cellphones, electric vehicles and other essential items.

Trudeau told a think-tank audience that his government began talking with the U.S. two or three years ago about Canada’s abundant supply of critical minerals.

China is the world’s leading supplier of those minerals but pandemic-induced bottlenecks have created major shortages.