By Jennifer Jacobs and Eric Martin
The Wednesday night event will be the closest thing to a state dinner that can be organized during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to one of the people, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Polish President Andrzej Duda met with Trump at the White House on June 24.
The dinner will be indoors and one of the people said that some social distancing measures would be taken.
Lopez Obrador said Tuesday at his morning news conference that he had tested negative for Covid-19 in advance of his trip and meeting with Trump. He has said he’s willing to take another one in the U.S. if asked.
The guests will include some 20 executives, about 10 from each nation, who will represent the automobile, telecommunications and media, transportation, technology, energy and financial industries, one of the people said.
The occasion is to mark the dawn of the United-States-Mexico Canada-Agreement trade pact, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, the other party to the accord, won’t be coming to Washington.
The two leaders plan to discuss the new agreement as well as measures to combat narcotics traffic, business between the two countries and migration.
The Mexican guests invited include broadcast, banking and retail billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, according to a person familiar with the plans, who asked not to be identified because the guest list hasn’t been made public. Salinas, with a net worth of $11 billion, is the country’s second-richest man.
Also invited are fellow billionaires German Larrea, part of the nation’s third-richest family, and chief executive officer of miner Grupo Mexico; Alberto Bailleres, Mexico’s fourth-richest person and an owner of department stores; Grupo Financiero Banorte Chairman Carlos Hank Gonzalez; Grupo Televisa co-chief executive officer Bernardo Gomez.
Also among the Mexican invitees are Olegario Vazquez Aldir from Grupo Empresarial Angeles, which owns hospitals, hotels and a broadcaster; real estate developer and Grupo Vidanta founder Daniel Chavez Moran; and Bio Pappel SAB CEO Miguel Rincon. It isn’t clear if all the people invited will be able to attend, according to the person.
Lopez Obrador said Monday that he plans to leave Mexico at midday Tuesday, flying commercially and arriving at night. On Wednesday morning, he plans to leave offerings at the Lincoln Memorial and a statue of 19th century Mexican President Benito Juarez. He’ll then have a private meeting with Trump in the afternoon and the dinner at night, departing for Mexico early on Thursday. The presidents plan to issue a joint statement on their meeting, according to the Mexican agenda.
Finance Minister Arturo Herrera tested positive for coronavirus last month, and Economy Minister Graciela Marquez, who is traveling with Lopez Obrador to Washington, had entered preventative quarantine after attending a press conference with Herrera.
Mexico has been one of the leading countries for pandemic deaths, passing France for fifth place over the weekend, due to factors including its less developed health system and the difficulty of isolating in an economy with a high level of informality. While the U.S. leads the world in fatalities, Mexico has the highest positive test rate.