UK and Mexico strengthen ties in aerospace and defense

26/04/2019
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13:36
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EL UNIVERSAL in English/David Morales
UK and Mexico strengthen ties in aerospace and defense
On Wednesday, April 24, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated the third edition of the Mexico Aerospace Fair (FAMEX 2019) - Photo: David Morales/EL UNIVERSAL

UK and Mexico strengthen ties in aerospace and defense

26/04/2019
13:36
EL UNIVERSAL in English/David Morales
Mexico City
Sofía Danis
-A +A
Ms. Corin Robertson was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Mexico in October 2018

On Wednesday, April 24, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated the third edition of the Mexico Aerospace Fair (FAMEX 2019) at the military air force base of Santa Lucía, which the country’s new administration plans to expand and turn into a new international airport. 46.9 kms (75 miles) away from Mexico City, the Santa Lucía facility was inaugurated by President Miguel Alemán Valdés in 1952. It has the widest runway in the country, spanning 75 meters (246 feet).

More than 600 exhibitors from over 40 countries attended the event, which seeks to offer a commercial hub in the civil, military, and defense aeronautical fields, bringing together businessmen, government officials, and experts in the field to promote aerospace development in the region.

The United Kingdom was part of the inauguration panel for FAMEX 2019. In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL in English, the UK ambassador to Mexico Corin Robertson spoke about future prospects for Mexico-UK relations in aerospace development.

“The UK is a participating country and FAMEX is a really important event in order to showcase the industry that we have in our country when it comes to defense and security. But also to share our experience with friends and colleagues here in Mexico and discuss some of the opportunities of working together,” she stated.

Luke Durigan, head of the Department of International Trade (DIT) in Mexico, was also present at the event.

“We have quite a lot of British companies here representing their products in different sectors related to security and defense, not only the aerospace sector, but also cybersecurity, nanosatellites, forensics technology, defense, and communications equipment,” the ambassador added.

It is worth noting that the UK government has been working to promote technology in Mexico’s financial sector since 2017, aiming to tackle a lack of financial inclusion in the Latin American country.
 

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There are both Mexican companies established in the UK, and British companies looking to invest in Mexico. “Strategic planning for defense and security is also an important export for us, as well as advanced engineering,” stated Robertson.

The UK is the second largest exporter of defense and security equipment in the world after the United States. “We export between GBP£10 and 20 million of defense, security equipment, and technology. We are proud of or reputation in the defense and security industry. Our companies invest a lot in research and development of new technologies. This sector is more important than any other in ensuring that we are assessing new risks and threats,” she explained, noting that the British government worked hand-in-hand with industries to identify threats and develop new technologies

“Mexico has a lot to offer in terms of defense and the security industry is very important in the country. Part of our presence here today in working with the new government of Mexico at all levels is to identify opportunities to collaborate further together, whether that we can share our expertise in technology or vice-versa,” she claimed. “We do joint training in some areas as well and there is a very close relationship between our military and our defense attaché here, who works very hard with the Mexican government to build those links further.”

The ambassador added that there was plenty of scope to work alongside Mexico’s new government in the future, though she claimed that it was still too early to determine the specific ways in which the bilateral relationship would develop, given that the new administration was still working out their priorities.

“We are working very closely with the new Mexican government to see how we can help at this stage and we are following their implementation of a national development plan very closely […] We know there will be plenty of opportunities, whether it’s around aerospace, airports, infrastructure, or security, which is obviously a big priority for the new government,” she commented.

The British government has followed the project to expand the Santa Lucía airport very closely, and UK delegates have been talking to the Mexican government at different levels about some ideas and plans for the new international airport. “In the previous administration we have been involved in terms of security and airports, as well as transportation, so I think there are plenty of possibilities and opportunities, though it is still quite early to specify any contracts or opportunities that might come out of it, but it’s an interesting proposal, though there’s lots of work to be done, but we’re looking forward to seeing if there are any ways we can help, both in terms of government to government collaboration or commercial opportunities for British companies.”

Ms. Corin Robertson was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Mexico in succession to Mr. Duncan Taylor CBE in October 2018. She has worked as a Joint Head at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Counter-Terrorism Department and served as a Deputy High Commissioner in Ottawa between 2011 and 2014.
 

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