US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says APEC needs to look at sustainable economic development that takes account of environmental demands. AFP

Janet Yellen, the U.S. secretary of the treasury, is all set to meet her Mexican counterparts to discuss ways to improve the Latin American country's position in the supply chains and fight illicit finance and fentanyl trafficking.

Yellen will be in Mexico from Tuesday to Thursday, where she will meet President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador alongside the central bank governor and finance minister, apart from other high-level officials of the country, Reuters reported.

The trip comes amid the U.S. Treasury Department's announcement of a "counter-fentanyl strike force," which will bring together the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation unit.

Yellen said Monday that "combatting the flow of deadly fentanyl into communities across the United States is a top priority for President Biden as well as the Treasury Department," as per the official department website.

"The Treasury Department's Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force will allow us to bring the Department's unrivaled expertise in fighting financial crime to bear against this deadly epidemic. Treasury will use every tool at its disposal to disrupt the ability of drug traffickers to peddle this poison in our country," she added.

The Strike Force operation will be headed by Brian Nelson, who serves as under secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence of the U.S., and Chief James Lee of CI (Criminal Investigation).

Nelson said the strike force will "act quickly and decisively with the top specialists from across the Department to nimbly respond to the newest threats," adding that during his visits to the U.S. Southwest border this year, he saw "how Treasury tools make a difference in disrupting the flow of illicit narcotics into the United States."

Lee, on the other hand, welcomed the partnership opportunity with the Treasury Department to fight against fentanyl trafficking, which was one of the deadliest narcotics plaguing the U.S.

He added, "To date, our team has played a key role in sanctioning and bringing criminal charges against individuals and entities involved in fentanyl trafficking, and we look forward to using our financial expertise to further disrupt the flow of fentanyl into the United States."

Yellen's visit to Mexico comes a month after the Mexican President and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, committed to the fight against illegal drug trafficking during the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco.

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