President Tony Tan in Mexico for 5-day visit

President Tan with Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto de Icaza Gonzalez at the airport in Mexico City.
President Tan with Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto de Icaza Gonzalez at the airport in Mexico City.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

President Tony Tan Keng Yam arrived in Mexico on Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning, Singapore time) for a five-day state visit, a first by a Singapore head of state to a Latin American country.

He was received by Mexico's Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto de Icaza Gonzalez at the Presidential Hangar of the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.

Mr Rogelio Granguillhome, Mexico Ambassador to Singapore, and Ms Jennie Chua, Singapore Ambassador to Mexico, were also there to welcome him.

Dr Tan's visit commemorates four decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries and with him on the trip are his wife Mary, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, as well as MPs Tin Pei Ling and Darryl David.

In a Facebook post on Monday before leaving Singapore, Dr Tan said his visit "demonstrates the importance Singapore places on (its) relations with Mexico, which plays a leadership role in the Latin America region".

He added that he looks forward to meeting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss how to strengthen ties and cooperation between their countries.

The Mexican President, who had visited Singapore in 2013 during the first year of his administration, will host Dr Tan to a state lunch on Friday, local time.

Organised in conjunction with Dr Tan's state visit is a business mission from Singapore, made up of representatives from companies in the tourism, infrastructure, pharmaceutical, and oil and gas sectors.

The mission is organised by trade agency IE Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation. The Singapore companies are looking to partner Mexican businesses in areas such as oil and gas, infrastructure and manufacturing.

About 40 Singapore companies, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, are currently operating in Mexico. Dr Tan is scheduled to attend a business luncheon with Singapore and Mexican companies on Thursday, local time.

Mr Granguillhome told the media the state visit will help strengthen bilateral economic ties "because President Tan is travelling with an important business delegation that is interested in the opportunities that Mexico has to offer".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2016, with the headline 'President Tan in Mexico for 5-day visit'. Print Edition | Subscribe