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Monday, March 9, 2015

President Peña sees a Bright Future for UK-Mexico Relations


By Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico


It is an honor to be visiting the United Kingdom at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The positive influence of this great country has nurtured Mexican culture for nearly two centuries, so my visit represents one more step in the never-ending journey to tighten our bonds. Paraphrasing Sir Winston Churchill, it adds to the joy and glory of the path we have embarked upon together.


As part of this shared vision, and prior to this trip, I have held various meetings with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. I also had the honor of hosting the Prince of Wales, with whom I formally announced the “Year of the United Kingdom in Mexico” and the “Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom.”


This “Dual Year” is the ultimate expression of respect, recognition, friendship and solidarity between our nations. Its broad economic, educational and cultural program will not only promote a better understanding of our two countries, but also increase cooperation between them.


For example, both the United Kingdom and Mexico are committed to promote free trade as a catalyst of economic growth and development. Currently, the United Kingdom is Mexico’s 6th-largest trading partner in Europe. Moreover, it is Mexico’s 7th-largest global investor.


Today, more than 1,500 British companies participate in Mexico’s financial, mining and manufacturing sectors.


Nevertheless, we want even more British investors in our country. That is why trade and investment are important parts of the Dual Year’s activities. Business seminars and trade missions from both countries will be held, including the first Mexico Day event in London. And, to promote a long term relationship between our private sectors, a high-level economic group — comprising top CEOs from the United Kingdom and Mexico — will start meeting regularly.


The relationship between our people is also very important. Last year, more than 450,000 British tourists visited Mexico. In fact, we welcomed 10.8 per cent more British visitors than the previous year. This number represents the third largest group of travelers to my country, just after our neighbors the United States and Canada.


To forge even stronger ties, the United Kingdom and Mexico will be partners at the World Travel Market in November, and the tourism exhibition “Encuéntrate con México”— Meet Mexico — will be installed in London. Additionally, the United Kingdom will get a taste of Mexico’s delicious cuisine with some of the best Mexican chefs. People all over the United Kingdom will enjoy more than 100 exhibitions, concerts, festivals, academic workshops and artistic residencies; Mexico will be a featured guest country at the London Book Fair, while the United Kingdom will be a guest of honor at the Guadalajara International Book Fair.


Our countries will also formalize several education agreements. Currently, there are 2,000 Mexican students enrolled in British universities. Starting this year, my government will grant 20 annual scholarships for foreigners in a wide variety of programs at nearly 70 Mexican universities. Additionally, representatives of Mexico’s oldest and most recognized university, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, will inaugurate the Centre for Mexican Studies at King’s College London, which will encourage research on Mexico and promote bilateral understanding.


I would like to paraphrase Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, reaffirming that the endeavor we begin with the Dual Year will increase the knowledge and well-being of our nations. History has brought the United Kingdom and Mexico together and our values will bring us closer still. I am sure that this will be a very prosperous year for both the British and Mexican people.


The best is yet to come.



"The best is yet to come for Britain and for Mexico," by Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, Mar. 3, 2015; translation by Presidency of the Republic

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