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Wen: China, Mexico are partners, not competitors
( 2003-12-14 09:31) (Xinhua)

Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday that China and Mexico are partners instead of competitors and that more cooperation is in the interests of both sides.

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]
Wen made the remark while addressing a breakfast with about 60 prominent business leaders. Mexican Secretary of Economy Fernando Canales attended the breakfast.

Since China and Mexico established diplomatic relations in February 1972, bilateral ties have developed greatly with fruitful cooperation in various fields, he said.

Citing Chinese official statistics, Wen said bilateral trade, at only 12.99 million US dollars in 1972, soared to 3.98 billion dollars in 2002. Cooperation in investment has also increased rapidly.

There are 46 Chinese enterprises operating in Mexico, including its largest textile project overseas, which was put into operation two years ago. Mexico has 53 investment projects in China.

Mexico is China's second largest trading partner in Latin America and a major investment destination, and China has become Mexico's major trading partner in Asia.

Wen acknowledged the presence of some disputes in bilateral trade, but he stressed his agreement with Mexican President Vincente Fox's comment made two years ago during his trip to China that the two countries are partners rather than competitors.

The view, echoed recently by Mexican Foreign Trade Commission Chairman Carlos Rojas, "is true to facts and represents our common understanding," the Chinese premier said.

Firstly, Wen said, cooperation between the two countries is based on common ground. As important developing countries, China and Mexico are both keen to develop their economies and improve their people's living standards.

Stronger economic and trade cooperation will boost economic development of both sides, Wen said.

Secondly, the two economies, complementary in markets, resources, technologies and managerial expertise, can cooperate in various fields for mutual benefit and a win-win outcome.

Economic and trade cooperation would also facilitate the two sides' efforts in sharpening their international competitiveness, Wen added, noting that trade between the two countries have become even more smooth since China's accession to the World Trade Organization, resulting in fresh channels and opportunities for cooperation.

Thirdly, overall bilateral trade has developed soundly, Wen said. Acknowledging that the Mexican trade deficit with China is a reality, Wen, however, stressed that the problem can be addressed through development.

China is willing to work with the Mexican government to narrow the deficit and combat the smuggling of Chinese products, Wen said.

Fourthly, Wen said, the two countries are also partners in the field of investment. Both are adjusting and upgrading their industrial structures, and need to draw in foreign investment and technologies.

The premier noted that China has attracted more foreign investment in recent years thanks to the progress in its reforms and opening-up and a strong momentum for economic growth with the improvement of investment environment that facilitates fair and just competitions.

Mexico has also made great achievement in attracting foreign investment and accumulated rich experiences in the process, Wen said, stressing that China and Mexico can learn from each other to make up deficiencies.

On China's domestic front, Wen said the country has set a grand goal of building a well-off society in the first two decades of this century. By 2020, China's gross domestic product (GDP), calculated at the current exchange rate, will have quadrupled that of 2000, reaching 4 trillion dollars.

The premier reaffirmed China's determination to push forward reform and opening-up and follow an all-round, coordinated and sustainable development strategy.

He said China's further economic development is not only conducive to greatly improving the living standards of 1.3 billion Chinese people, but will also bring new opportunities for other countries around the world, including Mexico.

Noting that China and Mexico are situated in two continents, Wen said the two countries enjoy a huge space for cooperation, each serving as the bridge and gateway for the other to tap the market of their respective continents.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of cooperation with Mexico, which not only conforms with the common interests of the two peoples, but is also of great significance to promoting the development of Asia and Latin America and to enhancing world peace and development, the Chinese premier said.

Wen also suggested that the two countries make joint efforts in the following aspects to lift the China-Mexico economic cooperation to a new level:

First, both sides should expand trade volume and improve trade structure. China is willing to increase imports from Mexico, while it also hopes that Mexico can facilitate Chinese products' entry into the Mexican market, especially electro-mechanical and hi- tech products, the premier said.

Second, both sides should increase mutual investment and expand areas of cooperation. Wen expressed China's readiness to work for agreements on investment protection and avoidance of double taxation.

China is also willing to strengthen investment cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, mining, petrochemicals, household appliances, processing and assembly of light industry products, and science and technology, he added.

Third, exchanges between the two countries' enterprises should be enhanced and mutual understanding be promoted. Wen noted that China's Ministry of Commerce has already invited Mexican Secretary of Economy Fernando Canales to lead a delegation of Mexican entrepreneurs to attend an investment and trade fair scheduled for next September in Xiamen.

In return, China's Ministry of Commerce and Council for the Promotion of International Trade will respectively organize Chinese entrepreneurs to visit Mexico and seek for cooperation opportunities.

Fourth, the 11th meeting of China-Mexico joint committee of economy and trade will be held next March and the two sides are expected to focus on new means and ways of carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation.

After the breakfast, Wen also paid a visit to the headquarters of the Mexican Oil Company.

The Chinese premier ended his two-day official visit to Mexico on Saturday afternoon and leaves for Ethiopia, where he will pay an official visit and attend the opening ceremony of the second ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum.

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