Interview: Mexico, China can work together for shared development

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-18 18:00:44|Editor: Tian Shaohui
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By Pei Jianrong and Edna Alcantara

MEXICO CITY, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Mexico and China should work together to achieve shared economic and technological development, especially in the realm of industrial cooperation, said entrepreneur and career diplomat, Sergio Ley Lopez.

Ley Lopez, former Mexican Ambassador to China (2001-2007), told Xinhua in a recent interview that beyond being Mexico's second-largest trading partner, China should begin financing more ambitious, mutually beneficial projects in the future.

The former diplomat believed that while China could transfer some of its manufacturing industries to a number of places in Asia and Latin America, Mexico "is the country with the industrial infrastructure China needs."

"Mexico offers the best perspectives, as it is the most industrialized country in all of Latin America," Ley Lopez told Xinhua at his home in Mexico City.

The former ambassador, who is also president of the Business Section for Asia and Oceania of the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE), recognized that a severe error made in the past was to suggest a commercial rivalry between Mexico and China.

In his opinion, it only served to "wear us out in a competition that took us nowhere" and he suggests an alliance in favor of common development instead.

"In reality, China was never our competitor. What we should have done is to unite," said Ley Lopez, citing the example of the Brazilian footwear industry which allied itself with China, instead of competing with it.

He cited industries such as automotive, electronics, and aerospace as examples where collaboration could favorably impact the region.

"Mexico offers great options for Chinese industry. We have infrastructure, highly qualified personnel and raw material suppliers," said the former ambassador.

One example of such collaboration has been seen with the arrival of Chinese car maker JAC Motors, which is assembling two types of SUVs in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.

For Ley Lopez, despite their distance, both countries have a broad commercial, cultural, social and migratory relationship, which began with the journeys of the Manila Galleons, which have carried Chinese goods between the Philippines and Mexico since the 16th century.

Today, he sees the relationship being strengthened through trade agreements, state visits, cultural exchanges and increasing tourism.

Ley Lopez pointed out that China Southern Airlines recently began a flight between Guangzhou and Mexico City, joining an existing Aeromexico connection between Shanghai and Mexico City.

"The flight gave me a very positive impression. It struck me as a messenger of peace, a messenger of understanding, a highly important link between our two countries," he said. "I also feel it is a bridge for us to get on better, to better communicate."

Ley Lopez also noted that "Mexico fortunately has many projects for which China has excellent experiences such as infrastructure construction."

He added that such projects could involve the expansion or renovation of ports, highways, airports and railways for persons and cargo.

Finally, Ley Lopez recognized that Chinese companies will continue to invest more in Mexico and other Latin American countries as its experience and trust in the region grows.

According to Mexican Minister of Economy Jose Antonio Meade, Chinese companies invested around 421 million U.S. dollars in Mexico from 1999 to 2016.

However, Ley Lopez believed that it may just be the beginning.