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Mexico, PH agree to increase cooperation on trade, culture

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Mexico and the Philippines have agreed to increase cooperation on trade and culture, particularly after the coronavirus pandemic and as the two nations celebrate 70 years of relations.

Presenting his credentials to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Malacañang on Monday, Mexico’s Ambassador-designate Daniel Hernandez Joseph said that because of the two countries’ history together, there is cultural closeness to share.

Mexico and the Philippines are connectors between Asia and America, said Hernandez Joseph, adding, “(a)nd through that role, there is so much we can do in trade, in culture, in science.”

The President agreed, stressing that the new economy calls for a new workforce with different skills than what countries traditionally depended upon before.

“And much of the work we are doing to transform the economy is to transform the workforce so that the daily technologies are understood. It extends in every field,” he said.

Although Mexico is seen traditionally a distant country halfway around the world, it doesn’t matter anymore today, Marcos said, noting the pandemic has taught people how to do business without physical travels.

“So I think that changes the relationship and that changes the possibilities, the potentials that we should explore,” he said.

The President also expressed gratitude to Mexico for taking care of Filipinos there, stressing there is a strong Filipino community in that country, which is now very much part of Mexican society.

Also during their conversation, Hernandez Joseph reported that Mexico’s national university made offering this year in the area of Filipino studies.

“It’s just beginning which again like I said opens new opportunities for furthering the knowledge and exchange of each other today not only in history but who we are together and what we can do together today,” he said.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Mexico were established on April 14, 1953, with the Philippines opening its embassy in Mexico City also in 1953. The Mexican embassy opened in Manila in the same year.

Last April 14, the Philippines and Mexico commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Bilateral Relations through the illumination of national monuments and buildings in both countries.

According to a February 2023 data, there are 1,206 Filipinos in Mexico. They are mainly craft and trade related workers, technicians and associate professionals, and other industry professionals.

Since 2020, Philippine total trade to Mexico has been steadily increasing, reaching US$ 1.1 billion last year. Mexico ranks as the 23rd trading partner of the Philippines.

The country’s products for promotion to Mexico include machinery/ mechanical appliances and auto parts, electrical / electronic equipment, food products (desiccated coconuts, vegetable saps and extracts, coconut palm, condiments, etc.), furniture and furnishings, and garments and footwear.

Mexico has ongoing applications for Philippine market access for bovine and pork meat, grapes, avocados, and citrus. | PND

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