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Deals strengthen Sino-Mexican ties
By Hu Xiao & Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-17 22:31

China and Mexico made a "concrete step" forward in establishing a strategic partnership between the two countries Tuesday with the signing of a host of co-operation agreements.

A series of economic, social, cultural, scientific, communications and agricultural agreements were signed in Beijing in the presence of visiting Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista.

President Hu Jintao praised the establishment of a permanent commission between the two governments and the success of its first conference.

Hu made these remarks when meeting Derbez at the Great Hall of the People.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the development of its relations with Mexico, said Hu.

Strengthening friendly bilateral co-operation will benefit the two countries' socio-economic development.

Derbez said that there was a great potential for bilateral co-operation and the Mexican Government will work harder to improve this.

The founding ceremony of the permanent bi-national commission was held on Monday, with Derbez and his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing in attendance.

The two-day conference of the commission which closed Tuesday included four sub-committee meetings covering politics, trade and economics, science and technology, and education and culture. Senior officials from the two sides also formed four working groups to discuss issues of social development, communications, exchanges, agriculture and tourism.

Both sides signed a mutual civil aviation transport agreement Tuesday, seen as one of the greatest achievements of the conference.

Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transport Pedro Cerisola y Weber said he expected the two sides have specific goals in the short, medium and long term.

The agreement will provide a legal framework for future air transport co-operation between airlines in the two countries, said Wang Ronghua, director of the Department of International Affairs and Co-operation of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC).

According to a joint statement issued following the signing of the agreement, each country can designate two airlines to operate flights between two destinations with no limits on the number of flights, Wang said.

He said that CAAC would encourages domestic airlines to operate in the China-Mexico business, benefiting from Mexico's large number of air routes in South America.

Direct flight between the two countries might open within this year, Wang said.

After a three-day visit to Beijing, Derbez said Tuesday that he would lead a group of Mexican entrepreneurs to visit Shanghai, China's financial hub, to seek out more investment opportunities in China.

Mexico has become China's second largest trade partner in Latin America. China has also become Mexico's major Asian trading partner.

Bilateral trade volume reached US$3.11 billion in the first six months of this year, up 34.8 per cent year-on-year.

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