MEXICO CITY – President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration wants Mexico to have closer relations with China and a greater presence in the Asian giant, aiming for complementarity rather than competition in economic matters, Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Monday.
“It has been pointed out a lot that China and Mexico compete in everything, but it is not true. There are sectors in which we do compete, but the complementarity of the two economies is more important than competition,” Ebrard said during an event on trade with China organized by the Economy Secretariat.
Chinese Ambassador to Mexico Zhu Qingqiao said he agreed with that approach and noted how economic and trade complementarity between the countries was “increasing more and more,” and bilateral cooperation was showing great dynamism and potential.
China is Mexico’s second-largest trading partner, and Mexico is, in turn, the second most important trade partner in Latin America for China.
Trade between China and Mexico grew at an annualized rate of 6 percent from January to November 2019, totaling $55 billion, the Chinese diplomat said.
China’s total investment in Mexico exceeded $1.2 billion last year, with some 200 Chinese companies operating in the North American nation.
“No matter how the international situation changes in the future, China will continue to strengthen cooperation with Mexico,” the Chinese ambassador said in his address.
Given rising incomes, China will have to import more than $30 trillion of goods and $10 trillion of services in the next 15 years from the global market, representing a “great market potential for consumption” for Mexican exports, the ambassador said.
“We welcome more high-quality agricultural and manufacturing products from Mexico to enter the Chinese market. We are willing to work with Mexico to further promote trade liberalization and facilitation,” the Chinese diplomat said.
In addition to the traditional sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing, the Chinese government has offered to “develop new business models” in areas such as electronics.
Mexican Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez said ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will “reactivate the interest” of China in gaining access to the North American market.
Marquez said, however, that Mexico was “fertile ground” for Chinese capital on its own.
“Not just in terms of exports, but of the Mexican market itself. In that sense, we believe that we have to redouble our efforts so that Mexico can provide investment opportunities for China,” Marquez said.
Mexico City and Beijing agree that relations have been strengthened with Mexico’s participation in the 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE), which was held in Shanghai last November.
In 2019, the Mexican economy secretary traveled to China twice, while the foreign relations secretary made one trip to the Asian nation.