Philippines, Mexico inks economic, tourism, anti-narcotics cooperation

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Nov. 17 (PNA) — The Philippines and the United Mexican States on Tuesday signed agreements in the areas of economy, tourism and anti-narcotics cooperation to enhance bilateral ties that started centuries ago with the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade.

During the his first state visit to the Philippines, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto signed an agreement with Philippines President Benigno Aquino III on avoidance of double taxation to “enable trade and financial activities” between the two nations.

In the area of security, the two leaders agreed to exchange best practices and share information to jointly fight the scourge of drug dealing.

In tourism, President Aquino and President Nieto agreed to “consolidate more cooperation in areas like R&D, education, training, and also in trade promotion and investment.”

”As the Philippines and Mexico continue to navigate a sea of shared heritage and common vision, President Peña Nieto and I had a very productive discussion on the progress of our bilateral relations, which bring about more meaningful opportunities for both the peoples of the Philippines and Mexico,” President Aquino said during the joint press statement.

The two leaders took note of the increase in commercial activities and investments, exemplified by the expansion of companies like CEMEX, FEMSA Coca-Cola Bottling company and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) both in the Philippines and in Mexico.

The two leaders also discussed the creation of the Mexico and the Philippines Action Plan, a roadmap to strengthen the relationship of both countries.

They also agreed to accelerate air services agreement that dates back to 1952 and the promotion and protection of investments.

President Nieto also commended President Aquino for a job well done in pushing a structural change agenda “just as we have done in Mexico in order to face the global challenge of economic slowdown, of financial volatility, and risk aversion.”

Before going to Malacanang, the Mexican leader visited Rizal Monument at the Rizal Park in Manila and the 201st Squadron of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force in Plaza Hidalgo in Intramuros, Manila for wreath-laying ceremonies.

President Aquino also hosted traditional state dinner for the Mexican President.

President Nieto arrived Tuesday to also attend the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting from November 18-19 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Last Monday, Chile President Michelle Bachelet held her first state visit to the Philippines.

Earlier, President Aquino held bilateral meetings with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter Charles Paire O’Neill, and Vietnam President Truong Lang Tan Sang at Malacanang Palace.

On Wednesday, President Aquino is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Australia Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, Canada Prime Minister Pierre James Trudeau, and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (PNA)