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Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono Met with Officials in Mexico

Taro Kono, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Mexico last week as part of the two countries celebration of 130 years of diplomatic relations.

Kono met with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray, for nearly two hours, according to a press release by Japan‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During that meeting, Kono said that he intends to strengthen collaboration between Japan and Mexico. He also praised Mexico for being the first country to approve the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Mexican Senate approved the treaty in April.

The CPTPP is the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As one of his first acts in office, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 12 nation trade agreement. The remaining 11 nations renegotiated and renamed the agreement.

Minister Kono expressed gratitude after Secretary Videgaray said he would consider the interest of Japanese companies in Mexico as his country renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and the United States.

Japanese automakers are especially prominent in the Mexican automotive manufacturing industry. Like their US, German, and South Korean counterparts, Japanese auto companies like Toyota and Nissan have significant investments in Mexico.

Minister Kono also met with President Enrique Peña Nieto. According to a press release, Peña Nieto thanked Japan for its support after the September earthquakes and its leadership in the renegotiations of the CPTPP following the US withdrawal from the TPP.

Trade and investment

Mexico is Japan’s largest trading partner in Latin America. According to data from the United Nations International Trade Statistics Database, bilateral trade between Japan and Mexico was US$17.0 billion in 2017.

Japan’s next largest trading partners in 2017 in Latin America were Brazil at US$10.6 billion and Chile at US$8.1 billion.

Japan is also a significant source of foreign direct investment in Mexico. Between 1999 and early-2018, more than US$22 million was invested in Mexico by more than 1,000 Japanese firms.

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