BEIJING – Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard opted on Tuesday to take advantage of China’s enormous potential in trade and investment after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing.
“I am an optimist. There are good prospects and great potential. For example, in tourism, joint investments through sectors such as the aerospace industry, electric mobility, logistics, household appliances and the medical industry,” Ebrard told the media after meeting Wang in Beijing.
According to data from the Mexican embassy, bilateral trade between the two countries totaled $90.7 billion in 2018, making China the second largest trading partner of Mexico after the United States.
However, the trade balance is unfavorable to Mexico, something which President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (known by his initials AMLO) wants to change “as much as possible.”
To achieve this objective, Ebrard wants to establish “a common platform” with China to analyze the market.
“What we need to do now is study it thoroughly to find complementarities and develop them,” he said.
“From an economic point of view, the bilateral relationship is increasingly important but we are looking for greater trade, more investment and better economic relations,” he added.
For that “it is necessary to include small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Ebrard, who announced that Mexico will participate in the second China International Import Expo that is scheduled to be held in Shanghai in November.
The Mexican foreign minister said both sides are working on a road map “for the next five years,” for which they must “intensify political dialog.”
In this regard, Wang said that China expects more high-quality products from Mexico and wants to invest in the country, highlighting the good bilateral ties, which have led to the establishment of the first Chinese cultural center in Latin America as well as visa policies to boost tourism.
Wang said that the Asian giant expects AMLO to visit soon and highlighted Mexico’s autonomy and independence at a time when, he added, there is a greater need than ever to promote economic globalization and to reject unilateralism.
On Monday, the Mexican foreign minister held a meeting with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, who said that both nations must deepen mutual political trust, exchange governance experience and strengthen pragmatic cooperation.
He also took part in a meeting with 50 Chinese and Mexican entrepreneurs to discuss success stories and new business opportunities.
Among the success stories is Grupo Bimbo, which has a strong presence in China, and the tech company Hisense China, which has its largest plant in Ciudad Juarez, and which bought another one in Tijuana in 2015 to export to Canada, the US and the rest of Latin America.
Despite the goodwill expressed by both sides during the visit, it remains to be seen how China-Mexico ties will be affected by the signing of the trade agreement with the US and Canada (T-MEC), which has only been ratified by Mexico so far, and which could slow down Chinese business in the region.
According to experts consulted by EFE, Mexico currently imports products from China that it then exports to the US, but the new treaty requires a higher percentage of products of origin from the three signatory countries.
Also, Mexico still does not have a free trade agreement with China and has yet to formally sign China’s Belt and Road initiative, although many of the projects currently underway could be classified within the framework of cooperation of this plan.