China-Mexico: Celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations
Pola Grijalva

Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for influential leaders to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Pola Grijalva is the CEO of the World Trade and Investment Group and president of the China Chamber of Commerce and Technology Mexico. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

We are standing on the brink of a great opportunity. China has become Mexico's first trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region, the second-largest trading partner in the world and our third-largest export market. Even though Mexico and China, at first glance, are very different, at the core, we share values and history of nearly 500 years since the days of the Manila Galleon trade. Our relationship has been built with hard work and a shared vision of how we can collaborate to broaden our partnership.

In 2021, the total exchange between China and Mexico accounted for around $100 billion in a year of a global pandemic. In 2020, while Mexico's imports from China decreased about 9 percent, the exports increased around 12 percent. Mexican food exports to China tripled, which has put Mexico in a position where we can see China as an attractive market for our fresh, high-grade and even our most sophisticated products.

The number of Chinese companies operating in Mexico has grown by more than 60 percent in the last 10 years, including strategic areas like communications, railways, infrastructure and the energy sector.

Since 2013, China-Mexico relations have been upgraded to the level of a "comprehensive strategic partnership," and now we have effective governmental and private mechanisms in the commercial, economic, regulatory, scientific, and cultural areas. This has resulted in a significant increase in projects, investment and business.

A troupe performs the Chinese lion dance during the Chinese New Year Cultural Festival at the National Arts Centre in Mexico City, Mexico, January 30, 2022. /VCG

A troupe performs the Chinese lion dance during the Chinese New Year Cultural Festival at the National Arts Centre in Mexico City, Mexico, January 30, 2022. /VCG

The new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement has opened the possibility of increasing the proportion of the regional added value required to access the North American market with preferential tariffs. This has been a great magnet for the reallocation of Chinese automotive, electronic and metal mechanic manufacturers in Mexico, decisively striving to keep their participation in the North American supply chain and market. On average, we have about five Chinese companies per month knocking at our door, looking for help to find a reliable source of market intelligence to support their corporate decision-making.

We recognize that Mexico has many advantages to becoming a good partner in this evolution. The country has created a strong industrialized economy, a significant critical mass of talent and a good network of commercial partners in the global open market.

With this in mind, the China Chamber Mexico, established in 2008, has been working for 14 years. Our mission and vision are to be the vehicle and channel for business people to shorten their contact processes and decision-making processes and protect trade and investment operations at the binational arena. Therefore, we have dedicated services such as verification at origin and legal advice, and in the commercial field market research, profiles, etc. We have created the Mexico-China Dispute Resolution Center, which has two instances: one for the prevention of disputes and another dedicated to the settlement of disputes mainly through mediation, emphasizing the expeditious resolution of low-amount incidents.

From January 24 to 27 this year, we successfully organized the "Mexico – China Forum 2020: Recovery in Action" in collaboration with the Senate of the Republic of Mexico. Thanks to the participation of our guests of honor, including Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier Carrillo, President of the Senate Olga Sánchez Cordero, Ambassador of China to Mexico Zhu Qingqiao, Ambassador of Mexico to China Jesús Seade, and Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Martha Delgado Peralta, accompanied by 87 leaders from businesses and governments of both countries, we built a very impactful Forum in the Mexico-China relations.

What is to be developed in this shared and common future?

In spite of the many pressures of influential and strong opponents in the business and political arena, China should be considered a very important partner and key factor to strengthen Mexico's sustained development. The recovery of the growth of Mexico should be based on a revised economic model, open to new energies, new technologies and a new role to play in the global markets. Mexico is ready for a great leap forward.

We can start by opening our minds to embrace all the possibilities to shape our new ventures with China, thinking of the next normal and beyond.

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