Interview: José Antonio Meade Kuribreña
How can Mexico and Kuwait enhance their relationship and promote more investment collaboration?
JOSE ANTONIO MEADE KURIBRENA: Mexico and Kuwait first established diplomatic relations 40 years ago on July 23, 1975, shortly before the former Mexican president, Luis Echeverría, paid an historic visit to Sheikh Al Salem Al Sabah. Since then, we have maintained a friendly and supportive relationship. We are now seeking to further strengthen our political dialogue and boost trade and investment exchanges.
First, we want to promote high-level visits and more frequent dialogue. In March 2014 I visited Kuwait and found that the interest and enthusiasm of the Kuwaiti authorities matched our own in pursuing bilateral cooperation. I met with Emir Sheikh Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, and we talked about ways to improve communication and tap into the growing importance of our countries in their respective regions. I have also on several occasions met with Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, and we agreed on the promising potential of bilateral cooperation and discussed ways to fulfil it.
We are encouraging more economic and trade missions to identify business opportunities and partners. We want more Kuwaiti business people to visit Mexico to learn about the advantages our country offers and are also encouraging our entrepreneurs to develop closer ties with their Kuwaiti counterparts. After my visit, important Mexican entrepreneurs came and met with the Kuwait Investment Authority and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These exchanges helped create an atmosphere of trust and understanding that will lead to trade and investment initiatives.
What benefits do Mexico’s energy reforms offer?
MEADE: The reforms are a major step in the modernisation of the energy sector. The new legislation will attract investment and technology, generate more competition, open new markets and boost production. The reform introduces more flexibility in the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, and allows for private investment and competition in the distribution and industrial transformation processes. In addition, it will foster competition in the electricity sector and help develop a wholesale market, as well as provide incentives to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy sources.
We see great potential for Kuwaiti companies wishing to enter this more competitive and promising sector. We also see opportunities for Mexican companies pursuing best practices in an area where Kuwait excels. A recently signed memorandum of understanding between Mexico’s state-owned Pemex and the Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company will be instrumental and help to facilitate exchanges.
What other sectors are open to cooperation?
MEADE: We look forward to Kuwaiti investment in development and infrastructure projects. A flagship undertaking is the construction of a new international airport in Mexico City, which will quadruple current capacity. Another area of interest is tourism, especially developing high-end resorts on Mexico’s 12,000 km of beautiful coastline. The two countries could also join forces to channel investments regionally. As Mexico plays a key role in promoting infrastructure projects in Central America and the Caribbean, it could facilitate Kuwait’s involvement in the region’s development. Cooperation with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development would also reveal new opportunities.
How is the Pacific Alliance promoting GCC trade?
MEADE: The Pacific Alliance seeks a multiplying effect of our shared contacts, distribution channels and supply routes. The agreement Mexico signed with the GCC’s secretary-general in 2014 will contribute to this by allowing regular political and business consultations between our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the GCC Secretariat-General. Mexico believes both the Gulf region and alliance members will benefit substantially from greater trade and investment flows between two of the emerging world’s most dynamic economic hubs.
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