Mexican president coming for state visit
Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Enrique Peña Nieto is arriving on Nov. 17 for a state visit on the eve of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Manila.

The state visit of the Mexican leader was formally announced by Ambassador Julio Camerena Villaseñor and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario Tuesday night during the toast celebrating the 205th anniversary of the proclamation of the independence of Mexico. The cocktail reception was held at the ballroom of Diamond Hotel in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

One of the highlights of the state visit will be the signing of an air services agreement “to re-connect” Manila and Mexico, whose links date back to the historic galleon trade.

In his speech, the Mexican ambassador disclosed President Nieto’s forthcoming state visit to Manila demonstrates that the government of Mexico continues to give great significance to the Philippines, not only as an ally in international affairs, but also as a trade partner.

Villaseñor underscored the close bilateral ties of the Philippines and Mexico that started centuries ago with the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade.

Thus, he said, Nieto is coming for a state visit in Manila a day before the APEC summit being hosted this year by the Philippines. The Mexican president is among 21 heads of APEC economies who confirmed their attendance at the annual leaders’ summit.

Aside from the close cultural and people-to-people ties, Villaseñor noted that investments and bilateral trade relations of the two countries are on the high side.

He said two of the largest Mexican companies, Cemex and FEMSA (bottlers of Coca-Cola), are operating their respective factories and head offices in the Philippines.

On the other hand, Villaseñor noted, the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) owned by Filipino tycoon Enrique Razon and the Ayala-owned Integrated Microelectronics Inc. (IMI) have operations in Mexico.

Del Rosario, for his part, acknowledged that indeed the robust trade relations between the two countries are best exemplified by these private business enterprises, both in the Philippines and in Mexico.

In his extemporaneous response to the toast of the Mexican ambassador, the DFA secretary confirmed President Aquino would formally welcome his counterpart President Nieto in red carpet ceremonies at Malacañang.

“We are looking forward to the state visit of the Mexican president,” Del Rosario said.

The DFA secretary also confirmed there would be a number of bilateral agreements that would be signed during the state visit.

“The two countries have served to enhance their friendship which has resulted in terms of significantly contributing to promoting not only partnership but as well the strengthening of commercial ties and deepening of people-to-people relations,” he stressed.

“As a result, as the ambassador indicated, we have a manifestation of significant major investments to the Philippines such as FEMSA and Cemex, and significant investments to Mexico by IMI and ICTSI,” he added.

On behalf of President Aquino, Del Rosario greeted the people of Mexico on their national holiday to observe this historic event after Miguel Hidalgo, one of their country’s heroes during the war with Spain, made the “El Grito de la Independencia” (cry for independence) in the town of Dolores. Hidalgo was captured and executed and it was not until Sept. 28, 1821 that Mexico’s independence was declared.

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