ASUNCION – Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, agreed on Thursday to move forward with talks leading to an economic cooperation agreement during the Mexican leader’s first visit to Asuncion.
“We have agreed to move forward in 2018, the last year in office for both of us, ... to make the economic cooperation agreement a reality,” said Peña Nieto at a press conference after his meeting with Cartes at the presidential residence.
The bilateral trade talks were launched in August 2016, when Cartes visited Mexico and the two men signed an agreement on the particular terms of the economic cooperation pact and a memorandum of understanding on productive links.
The two nations agreed at the time to negotiate an economic trade pact that would allow them to reduce tariffs between their countries on a large number of products.
In his remarks after the meeting on Thursday, Cartes said that “the accord seeks to broaden in an exponential way our bilateral trade by improving the facilities and conditions pertaining to that.”
“Also, ... we agreed on cooperation regarding direct investments destined for development and modernization,” said Cartes.
The two leaders also discussed security relations, and Peña Nieto said that they drafted a bilateral memo of understanding on the subject.
“I hail, although it hasn’t been signed here, the fact that we have concluded the negotiations on the memo of understanding regarding security and defense to share information and experiences in this area,” the Mexican president said.
Cartes also mentioned the security agreement and said that both Mexico and Paraguay agreed to strengthen the “policies and programs focused on improving physical and legal security, in addition to the fight against drug trafficking, smuggling and terrorism.”