Mexican Ambassador talks about China’s changes

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/7 17:23:41

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

China's reform and opening-up has brought benefits not just to China, but also to many countries worldwide. One of them is Mexico, a country that has been a close partner with China, and enjoys the privileges that an opening China has been able to offer in trade, investment and tourism for bilateral relations.

The Mexican Ambassador to China Jose Luis Bernal Rodriguez (Bernal) said that Mexico looks forward to further deepening bilateral cooperation and believes that China's opening up to the outside world is very important to the development of global trade.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, the Global Times (GT) met with Ambassador Bernal who shared with us his thoughts on China's developments that have brought about changes to China and to the world.

GT: Latin American countries have benefited from trading with China, and from China's developmental experience. How do you see the connection of China's development to your country?

Bernal: There are lessons that we have to learn, to understand and to apply in different countries in Latin America and in other regions of the world.

When we look at China's development process, we see it as part of a bigger process, that is the high-speed growth that has taken place in Northeast Asia in the last four decades. Before the experience in China, Japan was a very good example [for us] to learn lessons from. Then it was South Korea, and now it is China, which is a very big and good example that has proven to be beneficial for all. This is what Latin American countries have been looking at. When Latin American leaders and business people look at Asia, they want to see what happened to make Asian countries more competitive, more open, more inventive, and more innovative. This is what we have tried to learn in order to boost our own competitive sources in our country, hence we started benchmarking what has been done in this period of time and what was the motivation behind these societies to become more competitive. In other moments in history, we have learned  from Europe's development, and from the US, of course. In Latin America, we keep looking for ideas, for alternatives, for new mechanisms of connection, cooperation, joint ventures, and technology. In the end, all this has to do with how we relate with other countries in order to boost our own process of development. Today, China is Mexico's second most important economic partner and we have been able to make a lot of progress in the whole bilateral relationship by pursuing the comprehensive strategic partnership during the last six years. This is a very important process in which we pay special attention to how to improve and deepen our connections with China even further.

GT: Looking at the past achievements in China, what are the things that impressed you the most?

Bernal: There are two aspects of the results of the reform and opening-up process that have taken place in China since the end of the 1970s. One is the numbers. The numbers are very impressive in terms of the growth rate and the volume of the GDP reached by China.

The second aspect has to do with people coming out of poverty, which is another impressive result also is related to China's participation in international trade. We can say that because of China's participation in international economic relations, and globalization has spanned in all directions, at all sorts of speeds and is expanding more and more to include different countries from every region around the world. What impresses me the most is how 800 million people came out of poverty. This is a very impressive result without precedent in the world's history. What is so impressive about this is how this was achieved, not only because of the number of people, but also because what  had to happen at the domestic level to reach that great number of people: a reform in the educational process and the changes in the way people live in rural areas or in the cities. Also,how the new cities are built and managed to provide services for a large population. These urban centers have become modernized with many modes and means of transportation at different levels, and now different regions of China that were lagging behind in the recent past have been integrated in this process, and by taking part in this evolving process, people have been able to overcome poverty. Many people have reached the middle-class and have a better income today. Of course, the final outcome is new levels of consumption. The impact on income distribution and growth is very impressive, because this happened in a very short period of time. This is also a very good example for many other countries to realize what can be done in order to re-organize production and overcome poverty.

Globalization is also very important in this process. China's opening-up is very important because what made China become such an economic power was the very same concept of opening up to the competition and to the international markets in both imports and exports.

So, it's very important that there is this mindset of participating in international relations and that the growth in the future of China cannot be only limited to domestic matters, but more and more to its participation in the globalization process. That means many other countries are also taking part and benefiting from this process.

GT: You have been to many places in China. Have you found any good examples in China's reform and opening-up that can also be promoted in Mexico?

Bernal: There are many examples of good practices and many benchmarks that we can use as references. But I want to mention one, which is not the only one, but one that is very important and similar to what Mexico is starting to do since last year. It is the creation of Free Trade Zones or Special Economic Zones. In Mexico, we have been looking at the example of this kind of concept in different countries.

We know China is a big example for that. And we have been looking at the evolution in free trade and connectivity hubs in different free economic zones. One big example is the development in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, for example. We also look at the policies being implemented to attract more investment in the region of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province. Local development policies are only one example of what can be done in the regions that are lagging behind in the southern part of Mexico or in other places where we need to give added impetus to.

We can learn from each other as we share experiences based on our own development processes; and this is indeed  an increasingly important sector in our bilateral cooperation.


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