June 26 (UPI) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador will make his first foreign visit since taking office in 2018 with a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet President Donald Trump, officials said.
Lopez Obrador will make the trip to highlight the start of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which will go into effect July 1. A date for the visit has not been set.
The Mexican leader and Trump have maintained mostly cordial relations since they have been in office despite contentious issues such as the United States building a wall along the border and immigration policies that has forced asylum seekers to stay in Mexico.
“[The U.S.-Mexico relationship is] based on friendship and it’s also an indispensable commercial and economic relationship,” Lopez Obrador said in a news conference on Thursday. “So, that’s why the trip to the United States.”
There are some concerns that the Lopez Obrador’s trip could be used as a campaign event for Trump, who is fighting for re-election against presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“There is no way to justify meeting with Trump before November as there was no justification for the  meeting,” Leon Krauze, a Mexican analyst, said. “They play Trump’s game. A shame.”
While Lopez Obrador said he also invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a possible joint ceremony of the USCMA trade pact, he plans to meet with Trump only about certain related issues. Trudeau has not committed to the invitation.
The visit would be Trump’s second foreign leader to travel to Washington since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Polish President Andrzej Duda visited the White House and took questions from reporters.