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Japan and Mexico strengthen ties

Through the renewal of the TPP and other programs for bilateral cooperation, Japan and Mexico will seek to strengthen their ties
Japan and Mexico strengthen ties
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono in Mexico City – Photo: Gustavo Graf/REUTERS
24/05/2018
18:35
Newsroom
Mexico City
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Japan and Mexico’s relationship has a long history of friendship and commercial trade that usually becomes stronger during hard times, such as the earthquake from September 19, 2017, but their bilateral bonds can be made “even stronger,” ensured Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taro Kono, in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL. He described the spirit of the relationship between the two countries as: “together through hardships, true friends at heart.

What would be the best way to strengthen the relationship between Mexico and Japan, given that they have already shared 130 years of diplomatic relations?

-Mexico and Japan have a history of commercial trade that goes back as far as 400 years, and during the 130 years that followed the signing of the Friendship, Trade, and Navigation Treaty in 1888, both countries have built a friendly relationship in different fields. The Nikkei community, which consists of Japanese immigrants and their descendants, and has around 20,000 members to this day, celebrated the 120th anniversary of Japanese immigration in Mexico in 2017. They have my deepest respect for being a cultural bridge between the two countries.

They have both taken on the path of development as truly cooperative friends that help each other in times of need, like when the earthquake struck Mexico in September of last year. Japan immediately sent their search and rescue teams. This is why we say that we’re “together through hardships, true friends at heart.”

Both countries are strategic partners in the global stage and they share common values, such as freedom, democracy, and the respect for human rights and the rule of law. We’re currently cooperating to establish a framework with high standards of commerce and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, including the renewal of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

In addition to the cooperation between the Mexican and Japanese governments, there have been other active exchanges. To this day, around 4,700 people have participated in the Program of Cooperation for the Formation of Human Resources in the Strategic Global Partnership between Japan and Mexico, which is now 46 years of age, sustaining bilateral relationships and commercial exchange with Latin America. There is also the Third Summit of Rectors in Japan and Mexico, which took place last year, obtaining the participation of several universities on both sides.

I believe that it is very important to keep strengthening our ties through such endeavors.

Following the transformation of the United States’ trade policy, China has tried to build ties with Latin America. Is Japan interested in strengthening its commercial ties with this region as well, especially with Mexico?

-Latin America is one of the wealthiest regions in the world regarding natural resources. It has a market of 600 million inhabitants with a GDP of approximately 5.1 billion dollars. It is extremely important for Japan to strengthen its economic ties with this region.

Japan, as a promoter of free trade, would like to strengthen its free trade system with Latin America with the implementation of the TPP11, which is why we’re working closely with Mexico. We are very grateful that the Mexican Senate approved the treaty in April.

On the other hand, since the AAE (Economic Association Agreement) between Mexico and Japan was implemented in 2005, the economic relationship between both countries has improved considerably. Bilateral commerce has duplicated and there are over 1,200 Japanese companies working in Mexico. For the Japanese automotive industry, Mexico has been a very important base for vehicle production and export. We would like to continue this momentum and keep increasing Japanese investment in the future.

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