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Fox Stumps for Trade in Germany

Lunes, 29 de Enero de 2001

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Mexican President Vicente Fox landed in Germany on Monday to drum up his country's trans-Atlantic business ties with its second-biggest trade partner.

An ardent free-trade advocate and former Coca Cola executive, Fox is making the trip after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In Frankfurt, he will meet with business leaders and Wim Duisenberg, president of the European Central Bank, before heading back to Mexico later in the afternoon.

Key to his visit will be stumping for the trade agreement Mexico signed last year with the European Union, a pact Fox has said will be as ``successful and fruitful'' as the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada.

It is not the first time Fox has tried to woo business interests in Germany.

In September, Fox visited as president-elect and won a pledge from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of a ``new dynamic'' in the two countries' relationship.

During that weeklong campaign to boost economic ties with Europe, Fox also urged German industry to take advantage of the free trade agreement, arguing that his country could serve as a platform for German companies to export to the U.S. market.

Germany is the fifth-largest foreign investor in Mexico, with roughly 750 companies operating there. Fox is expected to push for even more foreign investment during his one-day stop in Frankfurt, Germany's financial capital.

Fox took office Dec. 1, ending the Institutional Revolutionary Party's 71-year grip on power.

In Davos, he told executives and government officials that Mexico wanted to clinch NAFTA-style free-trade pacts with South America's biggest countries and improve Mexico's economic ties in Asia.

Fox also described his vision of a ``NAFTA Plus,'' in which the United States and Canada might agree to eventually open their borders entirely to Mexican goods and possibly even workers, much along the lines of the European Union.

Still, he warned that a slowdown in the U.S. economy is a cause for concern because the United States accounts for four-fifths of Mexico's total trade. Increased trade with the European Union could help balance those risks for Mexico.

Lunes, 29 de Enero de 2001 a las 00:00.


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