For the longest time, Mexico has been perceived by Hong Kong primarily as a tourist spot. This is about to change as Mexico is making a series of remarkable efforts to build stronger, more meaningful and mutually beneficial ties with Hong Kong.
According Alicia Buenrostro Massieu, the Mexican consul general in Hong Kong, Mexico’s goal is to build stronger tourism and business links with Hong Kong. The government appears to be committed and hard at work to accomplish this goal by capitalizing on the ‘turning point’ in relations between Hong Kong and Mexico.
The ‘turning point’ refers to this year’s developments in Sino-Mexican relations which were kicked off by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s visit to Hong Kong in April. The consul general remarked that while Mexico was largely absent from the “Hong Kong scenario”, Mexico is now on the agenda.
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s visit to Hong Kong was the first Mexican presidential visit to Hong Kong since 1997. This visit was reciprocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping who visited Mexico City in June, cementing the new, stronger ties between the two states.
A comprehensive trade agreement was also signed that, among other things, opened a wide gate for premium tequila to be imported into China. Moreover, Mexico is on course for signing a mutual legal assistance treaty with Hong Kong next year.
These visits and agreements clearly signify that Hong Kong is a top priority for Mexico. A great momentum is building as Mexico very quickly creates a new image in the minds of the people of Hong Kong. Up till now most Mexicans thought of Hong Kong as the land of shopping, food and Jackie Chan! This will start changing as Mexico builds stronger ties with Hong Kong.
This has inspired many stakeholders to be part of these developments. For instance, Cathay Pacific recently started operating service flights to Latin America, with cargo flights to western Mexico’s logistics hub. This can certainly lead to passenger flights being operated as well.
The agreement signed between the two heads of state created a new link between Mexico and Hong Kong, which saw millions of liters of wine and tequila finding its way into Hong Kong. This year’s recent annual wine and spirits fair in Wan Chai involved 13 Mexican wine and tequila makers. Last year’s fair had just six exhibitors.
The ‘tequila route’ is a very positive and promising beginning, which will bring together governments, businesses and individuals from both regions. The first shipment of the highest quality blue agave tequila arrived in Shanghai in September. Mexico makes around 160 brands of tequila and is optimistic of its ability to export 10 million liters to mainland China over the coming five years.
This eastward focus is very good for Mexico’s long-term future. Putting their eggs in one basket, the basket being America, is not a very sound approach for the country’s economic growth and stability. Tourism and bilateral China-Mexico trade and investment will continue to play a central role in Mexico’s efforts to build long-term, mutually beneficial ties with Hong Kong.