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France and Mexico

Political relations

At the multilateral level, France and Mexico are preferred partners and display a very broad convergence of views within the G- 20 on issues such as financial regulation, the rejection of protectionism, combating tax evasion, food security and development. In the area of the environment, Mexico and France are key partners, and in view of COP21 in Paris in 2015, they are seeking the full implementation of the decisions taken in Cancun after the Durban Conference (Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Mechanism, Technology Mechanism).

On the bilateral side, the long-standing relations between France and Mexico were reviewed in 2013 and 2014 (through consultations at senior official level and numerous ministerial meetings). Our political dialogue is now a dynamic one based on a Strategic Partnership initiated during cross-State visits by the French President on 10-11 April 2014 and the Mexican President to Paris, as guest of honour of the 14 July 2015 parade.

Bilateral visits

Our political dialogue with Mexico has gone from strength to strength since the meeting between the French President and the President-elect of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, on 17 October 2012. Among the later of those visits, the following should be noted:

  • 14-15 July 2013: visit by the Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius;
  • 24-25 October 2013: visit of Ms Nicole Bricq, Minister of Foreign Trade;
  • 31 October 2013: visit by the French Defence Minister Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian;
  • 6 November 2013: visit to France by the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Mr José Antonio Meade Kuribreña; establishment of the Franco-Mexican Strategic Council (CSFM) which held its first plenary session chaired by the French President.
  • 10-11 April 2014: State visit to Mexico by the French President.
  • 26 November 2014: visit to Paris by the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs and interview with Mr Laurent Fabius;
  • 13-16 July 2015: State visit by the Mexican President Mr Enrique Peña Nieto, guest of honour during the 14 July parade.

Economic relations

The French presence in Mexico is significant and likely to bring about promising developments. Around 400 French companies are established in Mexico (including most of our larger groups) and cover a very broad spectrum of sectors. According to the Mexican Secretariat of Economy, France is Mexico’s 12th-largest supplier, a rank that is more or less identical to that of 9 years ago (11th-largest supplier), with a market share of around 1%. Mexico, for its part, is France’s 36th-largest client. Over the period 2003-2012, French exports to Mexico increased 54.5% while French imports from Mexico rocketed 104.7%.

French-Mexican trade has increased steadily since 2009 and seen a new peak in 2014, exceeding €4 billion (€4.2 billion) for the first time: €2.5 billion in exports against €1.7 billion in imports and a bilateral surplus of €0.8 billion. The trade balance in our favour (15th-largest global surplus) has declined slightly compared with 2013 from €1 billion to nearly €790 million, due to much more dynamic imports (+20.6%) than exports (+3.4 %) last year. Five sectors account for 71% of our sales in Mexico: transport equipment (€558 million or one-fifth of total exports), pharmaceuticals, machinery, chemical products, perfumes and cosmetics, and computer, electronic and optical products. The strong growth of transport equipment sales (+15 %) compared to 2013 and of computer, electronic and optical products (+28 %) is particularly significant, while sales of pharmaceuticals have fallen significantly (-6%) after the exceptional increase recorded in 2013 (+16%).

During her visit to Mexico in October 2013, the Minister of Foreign Trade, Ms Nicole Bricq, set out the target of doubling our trade with Mexico by 2017, setting three priorities: telecommunications, agrifood and sustainable cities.

Link: https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Pays/mexique (in French)

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

For our cooperation, Mexico is a priority country in Latin America. Mexico is our second-largest partner in the region, after Brazil. French cooperation in Mexico relies on a diverse network of institutions: a "Maison de la France" (House of France) to showcase France’s presence in Mexico (it is currently being restructured); the French Institute of Latin America (IFAL); the 27 Alliances Françaises and their 11 associated Centres; the Centre for Mexican and Central American Studies (CEMCA); the Franco-Mexican College for the Social Sciences (CFMSS); and three establishments attached to the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE): the Franco-Mexican Lycée (LFM) in Mexico City (3041 students, of whom 1354 are French); the Franco-Mexican Lycée in Guadalajara (866 students, of whom 239 are French; and the Molière School in Cuernavaca (269 students, of whom 70 are French), i.e. a total of 4176 students, including 40% French students. In addition, some 250,000 young Mexicans are studying French in local schools and universities. Moreover, both Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed a statement of intent on a project to build a “Casa Mexicana” in Paris.

In the scientific field, today France is Mexico’s third-largest partner with 600 joint publications per year, after the United States and Spain. More than a hundred joint research projects are ongoing, involving over 500 researchers and students in the two countries. France is active in the research sector, via the Mexican branch of the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and numerous bilateral programmes or partnerships between French bodies (INSERM, Pasteur Institute) and Mexican ones in areas of excellence like mathematics, chemistry and the social sciences. In the field of the environment, this support was reflected in the creation in 2009 of the Jacques Cousteau Observatory, a platform for research and collection of data on Mexico’s coastlines, involving many French and Mexican partners from universities (Brest, Montpellier) and the research world (CNRS, IRD, IFREMER). In the area of health, cooperation between French partners (Pasteur Institute, INSERM) and Mexican partners is expanding with, for example, the establishment of the following: the Biomedical Research Centre for Infectious Diseases (CIBEI) in Veracruz, an epidemiological monitoring and diagnosis centre in León, State of Guanajuato.

In the academic field, France is the third most popular host country for Mexican students in mobility programmes, with almost 2500 visas issued every year. 57% of these mobility programmes take place under university cooperation agreements (some five hundred to date), with a strong presence of French students (1500) in Mexico: they are the biggest foreign student group in that country. On the other hand, Mexico receives every year more than 200 CNRS researchers. Vocational training programmes are also developed in partnership with French companies.

The vitality of exchanges between France and Mexico is also expressed in terms of culture as shown by the following large-scale exhibitions:

  • "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo: Art in fusion" (9 October 2013 to 13 January 2014) at the Orangerie Museum, in collaboration with the Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City.
  • Festival "Mano a Mano, France-Mexico: Photographic Cross-Vision", at the French Institute of Latin America (IFAL), from April 2014 to April 2015).
  • Mayas: revelation of an endless time, at the Quai Branly Museum, from 7 October 2014 to 8 February 2015.

Links:

http://www.ambafrance-mx.org/(in French and Spanish)
http://www.alianzafrancesa.org.mx/
http://www.cemca.org.mx/
http://www.casadefranciadigital.org.mx/

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