(Bloomberg) -- Vice President Kamala Harris met with executives Monday to discuss efforts to boost investment and growth in central America, as she and President Joe Biden grapple with migration issues that will loom over the Summit of the Americas this week.
Harris hosted the group for dinner Monday at a Los Angeles restaurant as the Summit of the Americas and its satellite events, including a business summit, began. Harris will announce new private sector investments in the region Tuesday, an official said.
The dinner attendees include The Gap, Inc. Chief Growth Transformation Officer Sally Gilligan, former Mastercard Inc. Chairman Ajay Banga, Microsoft Corp. Vice President Kate Behncken, Softtek CEO Blanca Treviño and former Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla Miranda.
Some are involved with Partnership for Central America, a group helping to facilitate Harris’s Call to Action initiative, championing private sector investment in the region. She’ll also take part in a roundtable discussion Tuesday.
The dinner guests will discuss how to strengthen cooperation in northern Central America, also referred to as the Northern Triangle, where many migrants depart from for a journey to the US, an official familiar with the plan said. Harris launched her effort 13 months earlier, and 30 companies have signed on since, totaling more than $1.2 billion in investment announcements, an official said.
The US push to strengthen Central American economies is stemmed at easing root causes of migration, by stabilizing the region and reducing the incentive, or need, for people to leave to seek to cross the US border. The irregular crossings are a thorny political issue for Biden, as Republicans clamor for more measures to clamp down on crossings.
The summit will include an announcement on a migration pact, though its scope is unclear. Biden and counterparts from Latin America will attend the sessions this week, with high-profile exceptions, including Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexico is represented by other officials and will back the migration pact, a US official said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Earlier Monday, Harris met with faith leaders to discuss abortion laws, among other subjects. She then toured a civil society forum affiliated with the summit.
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