By Enrique Peña Nieto.

It is a pleasure to be in Peru to participate in the XXIV Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting. I am convinced that under the leadership of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the 21 APEC economies will give a further impetus to the region’s competitiveness and prosperity.

This meeting is also an opportunity for Peru and Mexico to continue strengthening bilateral relations, characterized by the close friendship between our peoples and cooperation on issues of great importance for the development of our societies.

For both countries, APEC is a fundamental mechanism for regional integration. For that reason, Mexico endorsed the priorities Peru has promoted in order to generate growth with quality and greater human development.

On this route, my country is convinced that it is necessary to advance regional economic integration through the formalization of the Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), as well as to facilitate trade, promote inclusive growth and improve competition.

We also share with Peru the goal of modernizing our small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In this regard, together with Chile and Colombia, through the Pacific Alliance (AP), our countries have worked in favor of the participation of SMEs in global value chains. Mexico therefore supports the aim of the AP to become an observer of APEC, which would allow us to exploit synergies between these mechanisms that share the same vision for development.

The Pacific Rim is now a strategic hub for connecting key trade regions. Thanks to the success of Peru’s Pro Tempore Presidency in the Pacific Alliance and the commitment and determined work of President Kuczynski at APEC this year, Latin America and Asia are advancing towards a more integrated, competitive and inclusive Asia-Pacific region.

Globally, the debate on free trade has been a central concern. The 21st Century economy requires our countries to be able to cope with the challenges of a complex international environment characterized by volatility.

Mexico will continue to seek to ensure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is consolidated as a long term public policy tool  that will strengthen competitiveness, improve integration into international markets and global value chains, and ensure that the benefits of foreign trade reach all the citizens in our societies.

This is precisely the scenario in which this year's APEC is taking place. APEC members know that our future will be better if we act together to address common challenges. This is not the time to look back at the past with nostalgia or to regard the present with fear, it is time to look boldly into the future.

Throughout our history, Latin America has undergone many transformations. However, today we have the economic importance, institutional strength and strategic vision to be part of the countries that are writing the rules of the new commercial architecture and policy that will define the twenty-first century.

Text published in La República.pe