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Leaders push partnership
( 2003-12-15 07:54) (China Daily)

Leaders of China and Mexico announced the establishment of strategic partnership relations over the weekend, a step to push ties between the two large developing countries to a higher level.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Mexican President Vicente Fox answer questions during a press conference at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City on Friday, December 12, 2003. [AFP]

Visiting Premier Wen Jiabao, flying to Mexico from Canada to start his two-day visit there on Friday local time in Mexico, held talks with Mexican President Vicente Fox, met with leaders of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and addressed a delegation of Mexican entrepreneurs.

Wen told President Fox in the meeting that a series of measures will be taken to promote the strategic partnership.

The two governments will set up special committees to guide and co-ordinate bilateral co-operation in various sectors, while exchanges between governments, parliaments,political parties and non-governmental organizations will be expanded, according to Wen.

Enterprises are encouraged to encourage investment between the two nations, said Wen, adding that the two governments should sign accords as soon as possible on investment protection and to avoid double taxation.

China is willing to increase more imports from Mexico and is considering the listing of Mexico as a destination country for Chinese tourists, he said.

Bilateral exchanges in such sectors as culture, education, science and technology should also be enhanced, according to the premier.

China and Mexico should strengthen consultation and co-ordination on multilateral affairs, such as exchanges involving the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation group, while safeguarding the interests of developing countries and making contributions to world peace and development, said Wen.

Fox said that the Mexican Government insists on the one-China policy and will not develop official relations with Taiwan.

Mexico regards China as a "friendly and reliable'' partner and is looking forward to making joint efforts to push the development of bilateral ties, according to Fox.

The two governments on Friday signed four agreements on deepening ties on public health, intellectual property rights, culture and education, as well as radio, film and television content.

Wen's tour to Mexico, which is China's most high-profile to a Latin American under the current administration,reflects China's strong desire to deepen relations with North American nations.

The trade volume between the two countries increased from just US$12.99 million to US$3.98 billion last year, and Mexico has become the second largest trade partner of China.

Bilateral trade has witnessed some friction in recent years, mainly owing to Mexico's trade deficit with China.

Both Wen and Fox agreed that the two countries are "partners,'' instead of "competitive rivals.''

When addressing Mexican entrepreneurs, Wen said China will "make positive efforts to narrow Mexico's trade deficit'' and will make a joint effort with Mexico to put a stop to smuggling activities.

Wen said that the two sides should increase their investment in sectors including agriculture, fisheries, mining, petrochemicals, household electrical appliances, light industry and science and technology.

After wrapping up his visits to the United States, Canada and Mexico, Wen will visit Ethiopia and attend the second ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Co-operation Forum.

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