Mexico has reported over 275,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 32,800 deaths so far. Mexico’s previous daily record was set last week with over 6,700 new cases reported Thursday.
The Mexican economy has also taken a hit due to the pandemic, and unemployment is now skyrocketing with more jobs lost in April than were created in all of 2019, according to a report by the New York Times.
Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Trump over the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) that went into effect July first, and which both leaders are hoping will assist their economies bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump and López Obrador have agreed to cooperate in responding to the coronavirus.
President Trump restricted movement between the U.S.-Mexico border to permit only essential travel in March, citing concerns over COVID-19 -- but goods were still able to be transmitted regularly.
“As in the best times of our political relations, during my term as president of Mexico, instead of insults toward me and more importantly against my country, we have received from you understanding and respect,” López Obrador said Wednesday.
Mexico reportedly became the U.S.’s largest goods trading partner in 2019, a strategy to help the U.S. lower its dependence on China.
“If there is not a better investment climate for both foreign and domestic private investment, it will be very difficult to use the opportunity of USMCA and the drift between China and the United States to our advantage,” the former ambassador to Mexico, Geronimo Gutierrez, told The Associated Press Wednesday.
López Obrador and Trump did not shake hands when the Mexican president arrived at the White House, recognizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines during the coronavirus.
Each member of the Mexican staff was also tested for the virus prior to their arrival, and both presidents sat at tables positioned far apart during the signing of their joint statement.
“Some thought that our ideological differences would have led us inevitably to confrontation,” López Obrador said. “Fortunately, this bad omen didn’t materialize and I consider that in the future there will be no need to break our good political relations, nor the friendship between our governments.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.