Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Mexican counterpart vowed to work jointly to access international markets, like the lucrative US market, as part of a new strategic partnership.
Xi on Wednesday begins his second day of a three-day visit to the Latin American economic powerhouse, which will include a speech before Mexico’s congress.
Xi arrived in Mexico after visiting Costa Rica, and after meeting Caribbean leaders in Trinidad and Tobago. On Friday Xi travels to the United States for a much-anticipated weekend summit with US President Barack Obama.
China has in recent years aggressively pushed trade and investment ties with the developing world, particularly Africa and Latin America, to secure raw materials to fuel its economic growth and wield greater geopolitical influence in relation to the United States.
On Tuesday Xi and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto pledged to enhance diplomatic and trade ties between the two countries, and to smooth over their long-standing rivalry on exporting products to the United States.
“We expect to broaden investments of Chinese capital in our country,” Pena Nieto told reporters late Tuesday, a move that will create more jobs and make Mexico “an important platform for exports to the countries with which we have free trade agreements.”
Mexico is a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), along with the United States and Canada.
Xi in turn praised the “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the two countries.
In a joint statement Mexico and China agreed to increase talks at various government levels “to deepen mutual trust and conduct bilateral dialogues on strategic issues,” Chinese state news service Xinhua reported.
Closer ties include more coordination in forums like the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping, Xinhua said.
Mexico also reiterated it support for the “One China” policy.
Mexico said it considers that “Taiwan and Tibet form an integral part of Chinese territory,” and that issues regarding Tibet “are internal Chinese affairs.”
China’s ambassador to Mexico this week told local media that his country delayed permission for Mexican pork exports in 2011 after then-president Felipe Calderon met with Tibet’s Dalai Lama.
Mexican pork exports are one of the issues that the two leaders agreed to review.
Mexico and Costa Rica recognize Beijing, but the other six Central American countries maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. The two split in 1949 after a civil war.
Pena Nieto capped the day by welcoming Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan late Tuesday to a gala reception at the National Palace, the executive offices located in Mexico City’s storied Zocalo plaza.
The reception included performances by top Mexican dancers and a star female ranchera singer.
Earlier in the day Peng, well-known as a soprano in her home country, and Mexico’s first lady, former telenovela star Angelica Rivera, toured a children’s hospital in Mexico City. Rivera said that China had donated funds to buy it an X-ray machine.
The visit is second meeting of the two presidents in as many months after Pena Nieto’s trip to Beijing in April.
China is Mexico’s second-largest trading partner after the United States, and Mexico is Latin America’s second largest economy after Brazil. Both countries are members of the Group of 20 leading economies.
But Mexico also wants to narrow a gaping trade deficit heavily tilted in China’s favor: Mexico imported $57 billion worth of Chinese goods last year while exporting just $5.7 billion, according to the Mexican central bank.
To start evening this imbalance Pena Nieto announced the creation of a business group to explore new investment opportunities, and another of top officials to “review the issues that so many times put brakes” on trade.
China has expanded its trade and investment ties with Latin America in recent years as the world’s second biggest economy taps into the region’s mineral and oil wealth to fuel its economic growth.
In Costa Rica, Xi and President Laura Chinchilla signed agreements on projects worth nearly $2 billion, including upgrades of an oil refinery, a key highway and public transport.
Source : Channel News Asia | 5 June 2013