Tensions have risen between the US and Mexico surrounding AMLO’s increasingly isolationist actions. According to a Reuters report, the Biden administration plans to give the Mexican government an ultimatum in the coming weeks, asking Mexico to open its energy markets to American companies or face trade tariffs.
Specifically, the US will request an independent dispute settlement panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade deal that succeeded NAFTA in 2020.
In the energy sector, the Biden administration has accused AMLO of favoring state oil company Petrleos Mexicanos—as well as the CFE power utility—and discriminating against US companies, a perceived violation of the USMCA.
The US has also been involved in a trade dispute with Mexico on the import of genetically-modified corn after AMLO called for a ban on all genetically modified agricultural products, citing health risks. The US—which exports 17 million tons of mostly genetically modified corn to Mexico annually—accused Mexico of violating the USMCA and threatened trade retaliation if Mexico stopped allowing farmers to buy its corn.
AMLO has been unapologetic on both fronts, describing a vision of a self-sufficient Mexico in his 2019 inauguration speech. He has repeatedly declared America’s economic and political dominance as modern-day imperialism, endearing him to his left-wing political base and giving him the second-highest approval rating of any world leader.