“It's an honor to pay my first state visit to Germany and launch the Dual Germany-Mexico Year. Our nations are peoples that value innovation, productivity and sustainable development. I am convinced that the agreements we will reach –as well as the cultural events and exhibitions- will serve as an engine for strengthening bilateral cooperation and building a better future for our societies.

Since the creation of the Binational Commission last year, we have identified key areas for deepening our partnership with a long-term vision that will enable us to harness the enormous potential of relations between Germany and Mexico. In this respect, the Dual Year is part of the Alliance for the Future we are consolidating on three fundamental pillars:1) trade, industry and tourism; 2) education, science and innovation; and 3) culture, art and creative industries.

As regards trade, industry and tourism, a great relationship already exists between the two countries and we are confident that it could be even better. Germany is Mexico’s main trading partner in the European Union (EU) and its fifth largest internationally, while Mexico is its second largest partner in Latin America. Germany is also the fourth largest source of foreign direct investment in my country from the EU and the sixth largest worldwide. Moreover, it ranks fourth as regards the number of tourists visiting Mexico from EU countries and ninth worldwide. To consolidate these exchanges, we will conduct an intensive campaign of seminars, exhibitions and trade fairs in order to continue boosting our flow of trade, exports and investments in the automotive, agricultural and household appliance industries and identify new opportunities and business niches and promoting tourism.

Thanks to our cooperation in education, science and innovation, and with the support of the German government, Mexico is implementing a dual training model that gives young Mexicans the opportunity to apply their knowledge in the workplace and ensures that companies have the skilled human capital they need. Moreover, the Mexico-Germany Energy Partnership and the Joint Declaration on Climate, Biodiversity and Energy Transition are the result of the clear commitment by our governments to efficient energy use, the environment and the transition towards non-polluting renewable sources. This initiative supports private sector involvement in the technological development of our countries, turning them into strategic partners and allies for sustainable growth globally.

Finally, in the third pillar, culture, art and creative industries, the Dual Year will allow us to share various exhibitions of Mexican art in Germany, including, “Mayan, the language of beauty,” which will be inaugurated during this visit-, and receive major exhibitions of German art in our country. Moreover, concerts and plays representing our cultures will be performed and there will be special appearances at film and art festivals, such as the presence of Germany in the International Cervantino Festival, the most important one in Latin America, and Mexico’s presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

For all these reasons, 2016 will be a great year for Germany and Mexico. I am convinced that the Dual Year will allow us to continue consolidating our countries as allies that share principles and values. It is time for Germany and Mexico to look towards the future together.

This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the best of our nations and forge an alliance that will allow us to complement each other to meet the challenges of the 21st century.