SINGAPORE: Singapore and Mexico have signed a number of new agreements in a bid to promote greater collaboration, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made his first official visit to Mexico.
The prime minister's two-day visit, which concludes on Wednesday (Nov 20), underscored the "growing bilateral relations" between both countries, the two sides said in a joint statement released by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Five agreements were signed between Singapore bodies and their Mexican counterparts as part of the visit. They spanned areas including technical and scientific cooperation, culture, industrial property and international development.
On Tuesday, Mr Lee met Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the National Palace.
Both leaders welcomed the growing trade and investment cooperation between their two countries and underscored the importance of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is already in force between Singapore and Mexico.
They also touched on Singapore's bid to become an Associate Member of the Pacific Alliance, a grouping of four Latin American countries.
"Both leaders looked forward to the successful completion of the negotiations that will lead to Singapore becoming an Associate Member of the Pacific Alliance, a step that seeks to further enhance trade and productive investment for both countries, and supported the intention of concluding the process this year," said the joint statement.
Last year, bilateral trade between Singapore and Mexico amounted to more than US$2.8 billion (S$3.8 billion), making Mexico Singapore's second-largest trading partner in Latin America.
Mr Obrador also welcomed Singapore's more than US$871 million of investments in Mexico.
The two leaders encouraged Mexican companies to leverage Singapore as a gateway to explore growth potential in Asia, noting Singapore's position as a "strategic hub" in the region as well as the strength of Mexico's private sector.
They also noted the participation of Singapore company Surbana Jurong in the development of the masterplan of Mexico’s Interoceanic Corridor, and agreed to explore future collaboration in areas such as logistics, finance and port management.
More partnerships between Singapore and Mexico's academic and cultural institutions were also welcomed by Mr Lee and Mr Obrador.
These include possible areas of collaboration between Singapore's Civil Service College and Mexico, the establishment of an international office of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (a Mexican university) within the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and an exhibition of Mexican culture next year as part of a collaboration between the National Museum of Singapore and Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Mr Lee was accompanied on his official visit by a delegation of ministers, parliamentarians, government officials and business people.