Strength of UK-Mexico partnership highlighted at London's Mexico Day business seminar
The third annual Mexico Day was held 21st of March 2018. Hosted by the Mexican Chamber of Commerce, it provided an opportunity for UK investors and representatives from public and private sector organisations to meet with high-level Mexican officials and discuss potential business partnerships.
As the world’s 15th largest economy, Mexico has a friendly and open business environment supported by a strong internal market. One of the key aims of Mexico Day was to identify business opportunities, with a focus on energy, Fintech, insurance and reinsurance, and infrastructure. Another was to further strengthen UK-Mexico trade relationships and promote international investment.
This strength was highlighted by Graham Stuart, a minister at the department for international trade, who spoke at the event. Stuart said that during his time in post, he had spoken to a number of UK exporters and investors, many of whom worked in Latin America.
He said that he had been repeatedly told that these companies wanted to work more closely with Mexico and were aware of the wide range of opportunities the country presented. This desire to work in and with Mexico has strengthened over recent years.
UK businesses see Mexico as a modern country with a dynamic economy, one fuelled in part by its young and growing population; a population which is highly skilled, offering a broad talent base from which to draw. Many of these young people have begun to travel to the UK to work and study in recent years, creating personal ties between the two countries, helping build relationships and a shared understanding between the two countries.
Both countries also share a common global outlook in many areas. Stuart said that they rarely disagreed on world matters and had often shown a united front when speaking at the UN, G20 and World Trade Organisation (WTO).
As the UK’s second-largest trading partner in Latin America, this is something both the UK and Mexican governments want to promote. Both parties feel there is much more than can be done to develop business opportunities and increase levels of trade and commerce.
One example of where the countries have worked closely together is over Mexico’s new Fintech law which reflects input from the UK. The law will provide stability for Fintech businesses in Mexico and help increase competition in a growth sector.
Other examples include the design of Mexico City’s new airport, which was a collaboration between British architect Norman Foster and Mexican architect Fernando Romero; the British store Hamley’s opening in Mexico City; and BP becoming the first foreign oil company to have opened petrol stations in the country. All these successes further strengthen UK businesses’ belief in working in Mexico.
To support these efforts to develop a close working relationship, there has recently been an increase in high-level collaborative governmental activity. Last year, for example, the UK’s secretary of state, Dr Liam Fox headed a trade visit to Mexico and met with the Mexican minister for the economy, Ildefonso Guajardo.
During this meeting, they discussed ensuring a continued trading relationship between the two countries after Brexit. As a result, the two ministers represented the mutual interests of their respective countries at the WTO’s ministerial conference, which was held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgaray also met Dr Fox as part of his official visit to the UK in October, where they discussed a range of issues including technology industries and NAFTA. Other officials helping to develop a stronger trading relationship include the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Mexico, Baroness Bonham Carter, whose role is to identify opportunities for UK businesses.
The Mexican government has done much to present the country as worth investing in and working with. It has implemented a package of economic reforms that have opened up its energy and telecommunications markets and has made significant changes to both its financial sector and educational system. These changes have allowed its economy to continue to grow steadily despite the global financial crisis and economic slowdown.
Mexico Day did much to showcase the success of both the Mexican government and the ways in which UK companies could expand their businesses in the country, supported by the UK government. Stuart ended his speech by saying that the department for international trade will be taking further steps to support both UK and Mexican companies to achieve their goals and build a strong bilateral relationship going forward.