MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday he is hopeful the United States will be able to share COVID-19 vaccines once his counterpart Joe Biden meets a goal of inoculating 100 million Americans in 100 days.
Although a deal was not reached, Lopez Obrador said he and Biden agreed for teams from Mexico and the United States to study possibilities for sharing vaccines with Mexico.
“The possibility is not closed,” Lopez Obrador told a news conference a day after a virtual meeting with Biden, referring to his request for the United States to help offset shortfalls in Mexico’s vaccine supply.
“But it’s subject to the decision to be taken by teams both in Mexico and the United States. They will decide if it’s possible, and when,” he added.
Prior to the meeting, the White House had said its priority was to inoculate all Americans.
Biden said last month he was confident he could surpass his goal to administer 100 million COVID-19 shots during his first 100 days in office – a deadline of late April.
Lopez Obrador said he and Biden had no disagreements over the matter, and that the two exchanged invitations to visit their respective countries.
The leftist leader also expressed support for Biden’s plans for reform that could legalize the residency status of undocumented migrants living in the United States.
“They see him as the migrant’s president,” he said.
Lopez Obrador urged the United States to expand a temporary work visa program for more Central Americans and Mexicans, and to analyze how many extra workers the U.S. economy needs.
“This is a matter of regulating migrant flows,” said Lopez Obrador, who has estimated the United States needs as many as 800,000 more workers a year.
The two did not discuss a contentious electricity bill moving through Congress in Mexico, although Lopez Obrador said he emphasized the energy sector as a priority.
The bill, which is aimed at increasing state control of the electricity market, has angered private businesses and could cause disputes with top trade partners.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Bill Berkrot and Jonathan Oatis)