Singapore, Mexico sign new deals, affirm ties

Delegates from Singapore, including PM Lee Hsien Loong and Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, in a meeting with officials in Mexico. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

MEXICO CITY • Singapore and Mexico signed a series of new cooperation agreements on Tuesday that underscored the multifaceted nature of ties between the two countries.

Both pledged to conclude a regionwide trade deal by this year.

Five Singapore agencies inked agreements with their respective Mexican counterparts following a meeting between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Palace, where the two leaders welcomed the growing trade and investment cooperation between Mexico and Singapore.

Among these were agreements to promote greater cooperation in water resource management and closer partnership in science and technology cooperation, and a renewed deal to team up on international development and tackle transboundary issues such as pandemic outbreaks.

The agreements were signed after Mr Lee was welcomed in a ceremony and given a tour of the National Palace by President Lopez Obrador.

Both leaders also looked forward to the successful completion of negotiations for a free trade agreement between Singapore and the Pacific Alliance, and supported the intention of concluding the process this year, a joint statement said on Tuesday.

The Pacific Alliance is a grouping of four Latin American countries - Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru - which is collectively the eighth-largest economy in the world, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the gross domestic product of the 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The statement said the leaders also underscored the importance of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a high-standard agreement already in force among 11 countries, including Singapore and Mexico.

Trade and investment cooperation between Singapore and Mexico has grown in recent years, with bilateral trade last year amounting to $4.7 billion, making Mexico Singapore's second-largest trading partner in Latin America.

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With Singapore and Mexico celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations next year, both sides called for regular high-level political dialogue and more frequent and active exchanges between their respective ministries and agencies to grow bilateral ties.

Commemorative activities in the works for next year include a tie-up between the National Museum of Singapore and Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History on an exhibition of Mexican history, art and culture in Singapore in October.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2019, with the headline Singapore, Mexico sign new deals, affirm ties. Subscribe