Mexico, India pledge to boost bilateral trade and political tiesnews
10 September 2007

Mumbai: Mexico and India will strengthen bilateral political and economic relations, and a two-day visit by Mexican president Felipe Calderon beginning September 10 is expected to give a further impetus for mutual cooperation.

The Mexican president is scheduled to meet prime minister Manmohan Singh and other political leaders to discuss how to boost bilateral trade and cooperation on regional and international issues, said foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna.

India and Mexico have vowed to more than double bilateral trade from the current $1.8 billion to $5 billion by 2010, while pledging to strengthen ties through increased cooperation on international issues like terrorism.

Calderon, the first Mexican leader to visit India in 22 years, has meanwhile, invited Indian businesses to set up base in Mexico as it has access to some of the world''s biggest markets, including the US.

Mexico is looking at $10 billion investments from India in the next five years, the head of a business delegation from the Latin American nation said.

"The government plans to increase the Indian investment in Mexico to $10 billion within 5 years," Indo-Mexico Business Board, Comce, Mexico, chairman Luis Wertman said.

Currently, Indian investment in the country stands at $3 billion "without any promotion", he said at an event ''India-Mexico: Opportunities for Business'' jointly organised by industry bodies CII, FICCI and Assocham.

Mexico is looking at sectors like steel, automobile education, IT, pharmaceutical, tourism and infrastructure to draw investment, he said.

Mexico is signatory to 12 free trade pacts, including the NAFTA, and 23 other regional trade agreements.

Mexico and India are both emerging economies that have seen rapid expansion in recent years, but businesses have failed to seize the opportunity to invest in the other''s country. Two-way trade totaled just $1.8 billion in 2006, or less than 1 per cent of what each of the countries trade with the rest of the world.

Both countries have identified information technology, pharmaceuticals and energy as key areas of cooperation.

Although economic issues dominated Calderon''s visit, the Mexican leader said he also wanted greater cooperation on foreign policy because Mexico and India, with their growing economic might, were set for bigger roles in world affairs.

The countries also signed an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance agreement.

The legal assistance treaty will help deal with crimes related to terrorism, and the extradition treaty is aimed at suppressing crime by ensuring that fugitive criminals are brought to trial, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.

A double taxation avoidance agreement was also signed to encourage investment from both countries, the statement said.

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Mexico, India pledge to boost bilateral trade and political ties