Singapore, Mexico sign MOUs to boost ties

Mexican President Pena Nieto welcoming President Tan at the state luncheon at the National Palace in Mexico City. Dr Tan is accompanied by his wife, Mary (in red), while Mr Pena Nieto is accompanied by his wife Angelica Rivera (in blue).
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Visiting Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto witnessed the signing of agreements here designed to boost links between the two countries that established diplomatic relations just over 40 years ago.

During their meeting at the Palacio Nacional and a state lunch afterwards, Dr Tan noted that reforms by Mr Pena Nieto's administration, including to strengthen Mexico's economy, competitiveness and institutions, will provide more opportunities for investment, trade and co-operation between the two countries.

Both leaders noted the progress made in the bilateral relationship and agreed on the value of seizing opportunities to strengthen and deepen this partnership.

Dr Tan, the first Singapore President to make a state visit to a Latin American country, received a ceremonial welcome at the national palace in the historic centre of the city.

Mr Pena Nieto, speaking here on Friday afternoon - early Saturday morning in Singapore - said few economies had achieved development as successfully and rapidly as Singapore. He noted that both sides agreed to deepen ties, "expand our relationship on the basis of our competitive advantages and strengths", and promote links between their respective regions.

Their meeting came on the fourth day of Dr Tan's trip to Mexico. He arrived here on Tuesday evening and he and the accompanying Singapore delegation had meetings with officials and businesses and attended events, including launching the inaugural Singapore Film Festival in Mexico.

Ahead of the state luncheon on Friday, both leaders discussed issues ranging from developments in Singapore and Mexico to the progress in bilateral relations, and presided over the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs).

The MOU between the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and Mexico's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food "will pave the way for enhanced co-operation in areas including agriculture science and technology, food security, and food safety," Dr Tan noted.

Another agreement between Singapore's and Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will see both sides collaborate in training and technical assistance for developing countries, particularly in Latin America, in areas such as urban development and water management.

The third MOU, on education, encourages both countries to exchange information on education as well as academic staff, including with Singapore's teacher training institute, the National Institute of Education.

Three more MOUs were signed earlier in the week, including by the Singapore Business Federation and trade agency International Enterprise Singapore with their Mexican counterparts. The agreements promote trade and investment at the private and public levels.

Both Dr Tan and Mr Pena Nieto also spoke at the lunch about the importance of the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the enhanced opportunities it will provide.

Singapore and Mexico are among 12 Pacific Rim nations that signed the TPP, a multilateral trade agreement. It will come into force only after it has been ratified.

Dr Tan later met Dr Miguel Angel Mancera, head of government of Mexico City, at the Antiguo Palacio del Ayuntamiento, or City Hall, where he received the Key to Mexico City. Dr Tan is scheduled to leave Mexico for Singapore this morning (Singapore time).

This article was first published on June 12, 2016.
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