Janet Yellen arrives in Mexico to deepen the fight against fentanyl trafficking

United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen begins a three-day official visit to Mexico to speak with the López Obrador Government about the production and trafficking of fentanyl, a powerful opioid that has become a lucrative business for cartels and that has strained the relationship between the two countries.

During the official visit that begins this Tuesday and will conclude on Thursday, Yellen will meet with officials of the Government of Mexico and with representatives of the private sector to strengthen collaboration between the two countries. “Secretary Yellen will meet with her Mexican government counterparts to strengthen cooperation on fentanyl trafficking and will meet with banking leaders in Mexico to advance Treasury’s work with the private sector to curb illicit financing linked to fentanyl.” , the Treasury Department reported in a statement.

On Thursday, December 7, Yellen is scheduled to have a meeting directly with President López Obrador. A day before, he will visit a crime laboratory and make statements to the press about the fight against fentanyl. That afternoon he will have a meeting with the governor of the Bank of Mexico, Victoria Rodríguez Ceja, then he will participate in a debate with students and economists and will give a speech on the occasion of the launch of a commemorative coin for the bicentennial of bilateral relations between the two countries. .

In just a few years, fentanyl has gone from being the great unknown to monopolizing foreign policy discussions between both countries, along with arms and human trafficking. Every year in the United States, more than 100,000 people die from overdoses of this new synthetic drug, 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Meetings between both administrations have been held periodically every three months, as part of a joint effort to put a stop to both drug production in Mexico and drug trafficking across the US border. In the last year, the López Obrador Government has increased seizures of fentanyl and has assigned more elements of the Army and Navy to combat organized crime groups that profit from this substance.

In the middle of an election year, the opioid has also crept into the campaign of Republicans who accuse Biden of not doing enough to combat the problem and have pressured him to impose more restrictive measures on the other side of the border. Last month, the US president met with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jingping, to take measures against Chinese exports of chemical precursors with which fentanyl is manufactured, a demand that the Mexican Government has been making for months and which has already expressed the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Alicia Bárcena, at the last meeting in Washington.

On this occasion, Secretary Yellen brings under her arm the task of deepening the bilateral economic relationship and creating “reliable and secure supply chains”, through the creation of “well-paid” jobs throughout America and increasing the economic security of both. nations,” according to the statement.

The Biden Administration, for its part, also announced the launch of a Treasury Department “strike force” that will encompass financial intelligence and research against fentanyl, a substance much cheaper to produce and more difficult to detect than other drugs.

The United States is Mexico’s main trading partner and where 80% of Mexican exports end up. While exports to Mexico contribute to maintaining more than a million jobs in the United States. Bilateral trade between the two countries last year exceeded $850 billion and is expected to continue growing next year.

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