Mexican Ambassador talks bilateral agreement history and future

By Yin Yeping Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/10 5:03:39

Mexican Ambassador to China Jose Luis Bernal Rodriguez Photo: Li Hao/GT

China and Mexico reached several agreements during Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's recent visit to China for the BRICS Summit. The president also met with representatives from China's Alibaba Group and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), indicating a greater potential for expansion into new sectors for bilateral agreements. The Mexican Embassy is also celebrating its 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations with China. The Global Times (GT) sat with the newly appointed Mexican Ambassador to China Jose Luis Bernal Rodriguez (Rodriguez) to discuss the status and future of Sino-Mexican ties.

GT: This year is the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Mexico. What events will be held to mark this special occasion?

This is a very important moment in our bilateral history. Mexico and China have developed a friendship and have forged many cooperative agreements. Trade is increasing, and social contact is expanding because of tourism, education and cultural and other people-to-people exchanges.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, we launched a very comprehensive cultural program since the end of last year, including many activities for the celebration, not only in Beijing but also in different parts of China. One of the activities was the launch of a special edition commemorative postal stamp with the support of both the Mexican Postal Service and China. At the same time, the Mexican Embassy in China has also adopted a logo for the commemoration of the 45th anniversary.

September is the month in which we celebrate our National Day every year, so the Mexican Embassy is having a special celebration on September 15. The most important activity so far was our president's visit to China for the Dialogue of Emerging Economies and Developing Countries during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen. Also in September, we are having a very big Mexican food festival at the Renaissance Hotel. The food will be prepared by a renowned Mexican chef, and a cultural festival with a photo exhibition will also be held.

There is also something that the public can take part in. It is called Searching for Mexico in China and is a photography contest in which anybody can submit photos of things in China that remind them of Mexico. There will be very good prizes for the winners. The first prize is a round trip to Mexico.

We also plan to have two concerts at the end of the year. The anniversary celebration will last until February 2018.

GT: What are some of the things that have been overlooked and require more attention in bilateral cooperation?

Today, we are working in five different dimensions. One is consolidating what we have achieved. Another is looking for areas where we can do more. The third involves fostering greater cooperation in different sectors to negotiate additional agreements and boost development.

Coordination on multilateral matters is another one, and we also have to look at different scenarios for the future. We also discuss the comprehensive strategic partnership between Mexico and China and look at ways to apply a holistic approach to what we are doing.

What are the sectors in which we see more opportunities? Trade is expanding. Today, China is Mexico's second most important economic partner in the world. Trade reached more than $75 billion over the last year. But we still don't see enough Mexican products entering the Chinese market. So, we will continue working toward the expansion of exports to China.

Fruits are among the products we would like to see more of in the Chinese market. We mostly supply the US market and recently the European market, but think this sector has the most potential in Asia.

We are happy to see that in the last two years new Chinese companies have entered the Mexican market. We are talking about the energy sector, including oil, gas, solar and wind energy, and technologies for the distribution of electricity. The opportunities are many, and we still have a lot of work to do.

GT: What are the sectors that Mexico is particularly interested in within the One Belt, One Road initiative?

We feel that the implementation of the One Belt, One Road initiative will have different impacts, levels and regions. The impact has to do with the creation of infrastructure, investment, relocation of financial resources from market to market, and changes in consumption as a result of agreements with additional countries. The initiative will also affect Latin American countries, as we are all a part of global value chains and international trade flows.

Mexico is becoming an attractive place for industrial production. More and more products are being reprocessed or finished in Mexico and then distributed to different markets. This is one part that is important for us. Another part under the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative is connectivity and logistics. Mexico has the potential to serve as a bridge between the Pacific Rim and other markets because of the infrastructure we have developed in the last few years.

GT: There is public concern about whether it is safe to travel in Mexico, especially in the capital where you may not walk freely at night. Do you have any suggestions for Chinese tourists who want to visit Mexico?

The main "risk" a person faces while visiting Mexico is that they want to stay there forever. Now, seriously, when we speak about Mexico City, you have to be aware and prudent, but there isn't such a big risk. Last year, Mexico received more than 33 million tourists, and just a few of them reported some problems. Mexico is a huge city, and it's more complicated than Beijing. When I say people need to be prudent, it depends on where you are, with whom you are hanging out and at what time you are going out. If you are at the center of the city where tourists visit, you will face no problem.

We are concerned about public safety, and we are trying to solve the problem. Tourism is very important and will get the most attention.

GT: What do you want the Chinese to know about Mexico the most?

There are three things. One is that both countries share a very long history. There are many commonalities between Mexicans and Chinese, and it means we can get along with each other very easily. Another fact is that, for Mexico, China is the second most important economic partner in the world, and for China, Mexico is its first partner in Latin America. Because of this, we foresee a future where we will become better friends, develop more economic partnerships and continue to expand our cooperation to make the international arena better.


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