SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Recent visits to Mexico by President Xi Jinping of China and U.S. President Barack Obama have reset the coordinates of Mexican commerce, the Mexican economy and Mexico’s foreign policy.
As discussed in the May edition of this column, a few weeks ago, President Enrique Peña Nieto visited China, which was just days after receiving President Barack Obama in Mexico. More recently, President Xi Jinping visited Mexico prior to meeting President Obama in California.
For China, Mexico’s position is strategic based on its proximity to and economic relationship with the United States of America, as well as for the potential role that Mexico could play as a liaison to countries in Central America.
For Mexico, strengthening economic ties with China, the second most important economy in the world, offers an opportunity to reduce economic dependency on the United States of America, its main trade partner and ally, in addition to the inherent benefits stemming from direct foreign investment and market diversification.
Despite what may have been contained in official statements, there is no general sense of friendliness toward China in Mexico. The most recent disagreement was over the Chinese reaction to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, which led to the arbitrary quarantining of Mexicans at an airport in Beijing, where they were deprived of access to sanitary facilities.
On the other hand, China had distanced itself from Mexico because of the manner in which the prior administration of Felipe Calderon received the widely famous Dalai Lama, leader of Tibet, with whom the Chinese have an ongoing dispute.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the renewed interest of the United States of America and China in Mexico, which was expressed in recent visits to Mexico, will translate into opportunities for improved diplomatic relations, greater cooperation and economic growth opportunities, consequently impacting the lives of millions in Mexico.
Dr. Mario Melgar-Adalid is a member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers (SNI). He is a Law researcher at UNAM’s Institute of Juridical Research and currently an Of Counsel at Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton, L.L.P. in San Antonio. He writes a regular column for CCN’s monthly Mexico Report, which also appears in the Guardian. To view all previous versions of the CCN Mexico Report, go to: http://www.ccn-law.com/