Vietnam - Mexico ties expected to develop more strongly and dynamically

Update: 09:49 | 18/05/2018
That is the expectation of Mexican Ambassador to Vietnam Sara Valdes Bolano in an exclusive interview with The World and Vietnam Report, on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Mexico - Vietnam diplomatic relations.
vietnam mexico ties expected to develop more strongly and dynamically Mexican Party leader highly values bilateral ties with Vietnam
vietnam mexico ties expected to develop more strongly and dynamically Mexican President vows to tighten ties with Vietnam

Dear Your Excellency Ambassador, Vietnam and Mexico are going to mark the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations (19 May 1975 – 19 May 2018). On this occasion, could you share with us the significant achievements of the bilateral relations over the past period, and your expectations of this relationship in the future?

Diplomatic relations between Mexico and Viet Nam have come a long way since 1975. We are entering into our 44th year with a strong political dialogue and economic partnership. We have recently held important high level visits.

On November 2017 the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto visited Viet Nam to participate at the APEC Leaders Meeting in Da Nang. In this framework the Mexican President held a bilateral meeting with President Tran Dai Quang on November 11. Both Leaders agreed to promote further cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including the negotiation of bilateral agreements.

vietnam mexico ties expected to develop more strongly and dynamically
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang (R) met with his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto in the framework of APEC Leaders Meeting in Da Nang, November 2017.

A delegation of Mexican legislators, led by the President of the Mexican Senate, Mr. Ernesto Cordero, was in Hanoi in January 2018. He held meetings with the Party Secretary General, HE Nguyen Phu Trong, as well as with HE. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, National Assembly President. With both Vietnamese leaders he agreed on the excellent relations between our countries at the executive and legislative level, they also discussed ways to boost it even further.

The Fourth Meeting of the Mechanism for Political Consultations was held at Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs level in 2016.

Mexico and Viet Nam share a strong commitment to multilateralism, international integration, as well as to cooperation as a way to tackle the global challenges, underlying common positions and being the basis for reciprocal support in international fora. These open the way to explore new fields of cooperation including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, migrations, disaster management, among other issues in the global agenda.

The same goes for cultural, educational and tourism exchanges, crucial to mutual knowledge and understanding, thus enhancing our multidimensional partnership. Our Embassy works closely with Vietnamese universities in order to promote the teaching of Spanish language, as well as deeper understanding of Mexico by its students. Mexico was represented at the X Hue Festival last April Hue International by a Internationally acknowledged musical group from Veracruz. The Mexican News Agency NOTIMEX and Viet Nam News Agency renewed their cooperation agreement in 2017 that will continue enhance the quality of the information that both societies can access of each other. On the other hand, the number of Vietnamese visitors to Mexico has been steady, close to 4000 people in 2017; more and more Mexican tourists are visiting Viet Nam, as the country has elevated its international image and improved air connectivity between Mexico and the Asia-Pacific region.

At the local level, our Embassy has been making efforts to encourage closer links between Mexico and the main cities and provinces in Viet Nam. The opening of the Honorary Consulate of Mexico in HCMC since December 2017 is a long due highlight.

Therefore, I only expect that a stronger and more dynamic relationship between Mexico and Viet Nam in the near future.

vietnam mexico ties expected to develop more strongly and dynamically
Ambassador Sara Valdes Bolano answered the queries of The World and Vietnam Report's correspondent.

Vietnam and Mexico have been the active members of the Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans – Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In your opinion, how Vietnam and Mexico take advantage of these above-mentioned mechanisms to promote our bilateral political and economic relations?

Mexico and Viet Nam are two countries fully committed to a rules-based multilateral trade system. We believe free trade as a means to increase economic opportunities for our peoples in sustainable and inclusive ways. These common interests are the setting to develop closer bilateral links, not only in trade and investment, but also in education, science and technology, cultural exchanges and tourism, in the upcoming years.

Last year Viet Nam hosted and chaired The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), not only did Mexico commend the excellent organization and leadership by Viet Nam at the Leaders meeting, but through its participation in the full process, the Mexican delegation was supportive of and grateful to our Vietnamese hosts.

Both our countries are supporters of free trade and signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Transpacific Partnership Agreement, which will doubtless foster more trade and investment between Mexico and Viet Nam. I am happy to underscore that Mexico became the first signatory to ratify this agreement in April, as a concrete example of its commitment.

Even more, our trade and investment authorities have engaged in a constructive dialogue thanks to the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation, Trade and Investment. While the relevant authorities of Mexico and Viet Nam held the first round of negotiations of an Agreement to avoid Double Taxation. Likewise, last year both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Geographical Indications. The strengthening of the bilateral economic legal framework will surely provide certainty and incentives for business in both countries to trade and invest.

vietnam mexico ties expected to develop more strongly and dynamically

Mexico is the Vietnam’s third largest economic partner in Latin America, while Vietnam – Mexico import – export volume has been increasing significantly. In the time to come, what sectors should the two countries concentrate on to boost trade – economic cooperation?

Bilateral trade amounted to 4.8 USD billions in 2017, and it is only expected to continue increasing in the future due to the size of both economies.

The First Meeting of the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation, Trade and Investment, Mexico and Viet Nam identified opportunities for strengthening cooperation in some key sectors, such as: agriculture and food industry, health products, professional services industry. Both countries are top manufacturing destinations thanks to our young and skilled workforces. We must aim to increase ties through participation in global value chains, complementing each other.

Both our Ministries in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development are working towards several agreements: a Memorandum of Understanding on Plant Quarantine, a MOU on Animal Health and Quarantine, and a Cooperation Agreement on Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Mexican food producers and Vietnamese importers are awaiting the approval of MARD to start exporting meat, grapes, and other vegetables to Viet Nam; while Viet Nam has submitted similar requests for exporting its agricultural products to Mexico. Currently, Mexico is one of the top importers of Vietnamese frozen bass fish fillets, and the total agricultural imports from Viet Nam were 167 million USD in 2016.

While the agreement to avoid double taxation will allow us to foster investment in the key areas mentioned above, as well as in tourism and IT.

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