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Diplomat talks up ties with Mexico

(China Daily)

08:44, June 05, 2013

When he stepped on Mexican soil on Tuesday, President Xi Jinping became the first president to make a state visit there since Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto assumed office, the Mexican ambassador to China said.

Xi's visit comes after Pena Nieto attended the Boao Forum in Hainan province in April in his maiden visit outside Latin America.

"This exchange of visits so soon after the start of both presidents' administrations is a reflection of their firm commitment to significantly strengthen their relationship in key areas where there is enormous potential for mutual benefit," Julian Ventura, the Mexican ambassador to China, said on Tuesday.

The two presidents forged an excellent working relationship in Boao, Ventura said.

China is Mexico's second largest trading partner and third-largest destination for Mexican exports.

Mexico is China's second largest trading partner in Latin America.

According to the General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade in 2012 hit $36.7 billion, an increase of about 10 percent compared with the previous year.

Now "every effort has been made to ensure a successful state visit" for Xi, Ventura said.

On May 18, Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Antonio Meade headed a large delegation of officials to China and met their counterparts to review the wide range of issues that will be discussed in the meeting between the two presidents.

"President Xi will receive all the honors that befit a head of state of one of our closest international partners," Ventura said.

Ventura said Xi will meet legislators, business leaders and other key players in Mexican society. He will also have firsthand experience of Mexico's world-renowned cultural traditions.

The two nations are expected to sign a series of agreements, the ambassador said, adding "of equal importance will be the recognition at the highest level" that the two countries' national priorities in economic and social development and shared perspectives on key global challenges present tremendous opportunities for cooperation.

The visit will enable the Mexico and China to work more closely in the international arena on issues that include economic and financial concerns, cooperation on development, and United Nations reform, he added.

The senior diplomat said ties have been strong since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972.

China and Mexico forged a strategic partnership in 2003 and a solid institutional framework for high-level dialogue that includes a Binational Commission, he added.

Still, Ventura said, bilateral trade and investment are still not at their full potential, and the governments are working together to increase market access.

"Mexico's economy, network of free trade agreements, infrastructure and logistical development present many opportunities for Chinese companies," he said.

Mexico, like China, is building a solid development platform based on education, science and technology, so there is a lot of room to consolidate an action-oriented agenda in these areas, he said.

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