Enrique Peña Nieto

For a Nación newspaper

It is an honor for me to pay a state visit to Argentina at the invitation of President Mauricio Macri. I am convinced that this meeting will not only strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between our countries, but will also allow us to identify new business synergies, give renewed impetus to our cultural exchanges and continue to create spaces for frank, open dialogue.

For a few months, based on a vision of the future, President Macri’s government has undertaken major reforms that strengthen Argentina as a modern, open nation and foster development. In Mexico, we share this spirit of renewal. After several years of diagnosis, between 2013 and 2015, we finally managed to achieve a broad agenda of reforms. Six economic reforms are creating an enabling environment for business and laying the foundations for increased productivity and competitiveness.

While these structural changes are necessary, they are not always simple or cost-free. Argentina is also going through a new stage of rapprochement with international markets, monetary stabilization and new policies to maintain and increase employment. I am convinced that this is the right route and hail the efforts of the current government to achieve these important goals.

Argentina is our fourth largest trading partner in Latin America, while Mexico is its third main partner in the region. In 2015, trade between the two countries exceeded $2.5 billion dollars, 8% more than in 2014 yet still below the highest point reached in 2013. Moreover, major Mexican companies have found a favorable environment for investment in Argentina. In 2014 alone, over $590 million USD of Mexican investment were recorded. Thanks to the measures taken by President Macri’s government, which are making Argentina an even more attractive country for investment and trade, our already strong economic relations can be further enhanced.

In this new direction, economic relations between Argentina and Mexico are being updated, which will allow us to eliminate non-tariff barriers between our markets, diversify trade and promote the development of global value chains for the benefit of both countries.

I welcome the fact that, at a time when isolationism and protectionism are considered a viable option in some parts of the world, the firm intention of Argentina and a growing number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean is to promote greater openness and regional integration.

In this respect, last month’s meeting between president Macri and the leaders of the countries comprising the Pacific Alliance to strengthen dialogue and explore options for cooperation on issues on the common agenda was extremely useful. This successful meeting gave us the opportunity to advance the construction of communication channels between this integration mechanism and Mercosur.

Talking about the links between Argentina and Mexico means speaking of a long tradition of solidarity. In the decade of the 70s, for example, my country opened its doors to many Argentineans, who established communities that have enriched our society in many spheres.

Argentina's culture has given us a legacy of major cultural creators and references. Mexico recognizes the talent and sensitivity of great artists, such as the singer, songwriter and greatest representative of the tango, Carlos Gardel; the famous writer and master storyteller of the Latin American boom Julio Cortázar and the cartoonist who created Mafalda, one of the most famous cartoons in the Spanish-speaking world, Joaquín Salvador Lavado, Quino, among many others. His creations are known, admired and loved by Mexicans. In recognition of these cultural ties that bind us, this year, Argentina will play a key role at the Guadalajara Book Fair, one of the most important literary events in the Spanish-speaking world. Thus, Argentina and Mexico will have the opportunity to expand the artistic and cultural dialogue that characterizes our relationship.

Likewise, knowledge of Mexican culture has spread in Argentina. Proof of this is the exhibition currently on display at the National Museum of Buenos Aires, “Rivera-Orozco-Siqueiros. the pending exhibition,” which has elicited enormous interest in the Argentine public and is currently being displayed after waiting over four decades to tour Latin America. It is presented in conjunction with the collection of pieces entitled, “The Southern Connection,” which records the exchange between the three Mexican muralists and like-minded Argentine artists.  The works of both side of this artistic dialogue strengthen our relations and celebrate a century of creativity.

Guided by the same spirit of closeness and friendship that linked two of the best known men of letters in the Spanish-speaking world, Jorge Luis Borges and Alfonso Reyes, who also served as Mexico's ambassador to Argentina, I wish to continue strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and cooperation between our countries, to promote the unity and strength of Latin America worldwide. I am sure that this meeting with President Macri’s government will contribute to this noble purpose and result in greater benefits for our peoples.