Mexico keen to bolster ties with Bangladesh
Mexico is set to open an embassy in Dhaka this year as the Latin American nation is eager to boost trade and diplomatic relationship in consideration of Bangladesh's growing economy and importance in regional and global spheres.
Mexico currently has a consulate in Dhaka.
Federico Salas, Mexican Ambassador to Bangladesh, was in Dhaka to present his credentials to President Abdul Hamid. He agreed to an exclusive interview with The Daily Star on January 30 where he shared his insights on bilateral relations between the two nations and future plans.
"We are taking tangible and specific decisions. We decided to open a resident embassy in Bangladesh in the course of this year. With this, opportunities will multiply and in turn deepen our relationship," said Salas.
Noting that cultural and people-to-people contact play an important role in improving relations, Salas said, adding that he wanted to bring Mexican chefs and have week-long culinary experiences here in Bangladesh.
"Mexican food is part of world heritage. We want to bring here--the taste, the colours and the spirit."
Salas also said he will start working on academic exchange in higher education to improve people-to-people ties.
Salas, who is based in Delhi and accredited to Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, also met Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and visited the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) during his trip.
"Mexico-Bangladesh relationship is still focused on multilateral sphere, mostly in UN, but bilateral relationship is growing. In the past five years, two-way trade multiplied by 100 percent to about $500 million, which has created a momentum. I want to pursue this to keep up the growth trend and diversify goods and services. There is a significant potential there," said Salas.
With that in mind, Mexico's Minister for Interior and Exterior Relations Marcelo Ebrard will be visiting Bangladesh on March 7-8, which will be the first visit to Bangladesh by a Mexican foreign minister to explore future cooperation.
Currently, Mexico exports cotton to Bangladesh and imports textile from the nation but is eager to diversify to include pharmaceutical products and information technology products, the envoy added.
Mexico has a wide range of products including tanned or crust hides and skins of bovines, fisheries such as shrimp, dehydrated fruits, textiles and auto parts, and can link up trade with Bangladesh in that line.
Referring to his meeting with FBCCI, Federico said Mexico has free trade agreements with some of the world's largest countries including US, Canada, members of European Union and a number of Latin American countries.
Therefore, he said, investing in Mexico by Bangladeshi companies can be very beneficial. Similarly, Mexican companies can also explore ways of investment in Bangladesh. He also said Mexico would like business delegations from both countries to visit each other to help the growth of commercial relations.
In 2021, a Bangladeshi military delegation attended the celebrations of Mexico's 200 years of independence and a Mexican military delegation also attended the celebrations of Bangladesh's golden jubilee of independence.
Salas said Mexico is looking at the possibility of gaining experience from Bangladesh in terms of UN peacekeeping.
On the multilateral front, the diplomat said, Mexico and Bangladesh collaborated in the areas of promoting migrant rights, and can further work through G20 to channel the voices of the global south.
"I am hoping that during the foreign minister level meeting of the G20 in Delhi this March, delegations of our two countries can sit down and get to understand each other's points of views. As a G20 member, we can also represent those concerns to the rest of the members."