Mexico: a bridge between the Atlantic and the Pacific Rim – by H.E. Minister Hermann Aschentrupp, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Mexico to EU

Mexico is a country of multiple belongings, geographically located in North America, and endowed with deep Latin-American roots, with tight bonds with the European Union, and a rising relationship with Asia and the Pacific. Its geographic location, democratic values, and network of free trade agreements allow the Foreign Policy of Mexico to aim at making the country a global and responsible actor, as well as displaying an intense diplomatic activity in both the economic and political fields.

As a natural bridge between the Atlantic and the Pacific, Mexico is a strategic trade ally with solid partnerships in North America, the Atlantic, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific region.

For Mexico, NAFTA has been an important trading platform that has opened privileged access to one of the world´s largest markets. As a NAFTA partner, Mexico’s aim has been to harness the region’s competitive and innovative capacity. Thus, the bilateral agenda with the United States and Canada has been enlarged and deepened to reflect the strategic value of the region, with the goal of improving development, and achieving a better and more balanced integration. Mexico seeks to enhance North America’s productivity and competiveness to generate more job opportunities, and consolidate the region as a driving force of the global economy. In 2012 the trilateral trade surpassed the 1 billion dollar mark, a record figure, which reflects the 265% trade growth since its coming into force.

Relations with Europe are deep and strong. The European Union is our second foreign investor and third trade partner. An intense dialogue process with UE will soon be launched with the aim of modernizing the institutional framework governing our bilateral relations.

Our goals in Latin America are particularly targeted towards countries that, like Mexico, are likeminded and share a Pacific Rim coastline. Together with Peru, Chile and Colombia we decided to create an alliance (The Pacific Alliance group) as a space of prosperity, diversity and openness. The members share values like the rule of law, democracy, constitutional order, but above all, a full commitment to free trade, in contrast to a protectionist and nationalist stance. Its purpose is to encourage regional integration, as well as the balanced growth, development and competitiveness of our countries’ economies, with the goal of progressively advancing towards a free circulation of goods, services and persons.1

The Pacific Alliance seeks to integrate its member’s productive chains to boost the region’s projection in the world economy. Furthermore, it aims to attract new investments, achieve a wider energy and infrastructure integration, and deepen inter-regional trade.

On other fronts, the Alliance is setting the ground for strengthened cooperation on issues of common interest, such as environment, climate change, innovation, science, technology, and social development. It is a platform of strategic development that allows its members to assume greater projection, both within and beyond the region.

As a sign of its dynamism, the Alliance has thus far held six Summits, two Council of Ministers meetings, twelve High Level Group meetings, and eight Technical Group meetings. The Alliance has drawn the interest of various countries, some of which have requested their entry as observers: Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Japan, New Zealand, Panama, Uruguay, and Spain, as well as MERCOSUR. Other countries that have expressed their interest are: United States, Indonesia, Paraguay, and Portugal. At the Santiago de Chile CELAC – EU 2013 Summit, the EU requested to be an observer, which opens a great potential to formalize a dialogue between the Pacific Alliance and the European Union.

The member countries of the Pacific Alliance agreed that pragmatism and flexibility shall be two of the main features of the Group. The focus on trade and economic cooperation allows it to be a valuable tool to enhance regional integration and trade liberation among the member states. It is also a key instrument for the achievement of a deeper relation with the Asia-Pacific region and the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).

In the past years Mexico has achieved significant progress in its relations with the Asia-Pacific region, which today is the world’s most dynamic economic pole.2 So far, Mexico has established diplomatic relations with thirty-five of the thirty-six states3 that make up the Asia-Pacific region, which is a driving force in trade, finance, innovation, and technological development.

In recent years, Mexico has strengthened and deepened its strategic partnerships with Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, and is looking to increase trade and political relations with India and the ASEAN countries. Mexico has consolidated its position as Japan’s first trade partner in Latin America, while with China an Integral Strategic Association has been launched.

Additionally, Mexico participates in the main trans-pacific cooperation fora, like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), the Forum of Latin America and East Asia (FOCALAE), and the Pacific Cooperation Economic Council (PECC). These interactions were aimed at increasing the political dialogue and cooperation with the main regional actors, and play a more active role in the key transpacific fora. This will allow to increase the investment flows, making the Mexican economy more competitive.

In 2012 Mexico accepted the invitation to join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations44

Mexico formally joined the TPP negotiations process in October 2012, and has been active ever since, with the support of the national productive sector.

, which constitute an important engine for the economic development of its members: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.5

Within the G20 framework Mexico has strengthened its relations with key regional partners like Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, and Australia. Together, we decided to create the MICTA Group with the purpose of strengthening our political and economic coordination in multilateral fora like the United Nations and the G20.

Before the commencement of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the United States and the EU, it was considered that the only relevant negotiation in the field of international trade was the TPP, in which Mexico participates. As TTIP and the TPP negotiations are both a challenge and a great opportunity, since they represent approximately 80% of world trade, Mexico will continue to participate as a reliable actor, and a trustful and active partner that promotes the strengthening of competitiveness and free trade between the Atlantic, the Pacific, North America and Latin America.


1 Together, the four countries of the Pacific Alliance represent the  world’s 9th economy, the 8th largest exporter, and a potential market of 209 million consumers and a GDP of nearly $ 2 billion dollars. The economies of this alliance represent about 35% of the GDP and 50% of the Latin America and the Caribbean

’s exports, equivalent in 2011, to $ 534 billion dollars, while imports were $ 519 billion dollars. In 2011, Mexico’s total trade with the Alliance members represented 30 percent of its total trade with Latin America, reaching $ 12.5 billion.

2 It represents 30% of the world’s GDP, 19% of exports, 22% of world imports, and 10% of the world’s population.

3 Bhutan is the only country in the region with which Mexico has no diplomatic relations; their respective Missions to the United Nations are taking steps to formalize ties between the two countries.

5 In 2012, the twelve countries in the TPP participated with 38% of the worldwide GDP, 23% of exports, 28% of world imports and 11% of the population. The Intellectual Property Chapter is one of the largest in the TPP.

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