Abu Dhabi: Mexico seeks to continue bolster ties with the UAE and attract investments in some of the vital sectors of the economy including energy, infrastructure and tourism, the country’s ambassador to the UAE told Gulf News in an interview.
“We want more investments and we want to work very hard with the authorities in the UAE on this. Energy sector in Mexico among others could be ideal for investment especially after reforms to open the industry for foreign investment,” said Francisca Elizabeth Mendez Escobar.
Mexico, one of the world’s largest producers of oil with, current production of 2 million barrels per day, undertook reforms in the energy sector in 2013, ending state-owned oil firm Pemex’s monopoly on the oil and natural gas sector and opening the industry to greater foreign investment.
The reforms allowed for new contract models for exploration and production including licenses, production-sharing, profit-sharing, and service contracts, according to US-based Energy Information Administration (EIA).
“After energy reforms, [the] market is open. Now there are investments in Mexico from foreign companies in the upstream, downstream sectors. Pemex, which is our national company of oil is in contact with Mubadala and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) for possibilities of investment,” ambassador Escobar said.
Mubadala Petroleum and Pemex signed an agreement last year to provide the basis for discussions between the two companies and their affiliates about potential opportunities in Mexico’s energy sector but there have been no developments since then, a Mubadala spokesperson told Gulf News. “There had been no material developments beyond last year’s Memorandum of Understanding, which acted as a framework for preliminary discussions”, the spokesperson said.
Adnoc did not get back to Gulf News when queried on investment opportunities in Mexico.
Currently, there are no UAE investments in the energy sector but there are investments in hotels, services, real estate and food amounting to $15 million and some investments in mutual funds, according to the embassy.
On the trade front, Mexico is looking to bolster bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at $500 million with Mexico exporting gold, agriculture products, vehicles to the UAE and the Latin American country importing iron, synthetic monofilaments and alloys from the UAE. This year, the country expects to break the trade record in food and beverages reaching $50 million in Mexican exports, a figure never seen before with a country in the Middle East, the Mexican embassy said.
“Trade is increasing a lot since the visit of our president Enrique Pena Nieto in January 2016. In almost five years, there has been a 100 per cent increase in bilateral trade between the two countries,” Escobar said. “We have signed thirteen agreements to boost trade between the two countries since last year. We are working hard in the regulatory framework and mechanism to attract investment in our country.”
Thanks to structural reforms and macroeconomic stability, Mexico has received more than $156 billion in foreign direct investment in the last four-and-a-half years from across the globe, she added. “Only in the first seven months of 2017, $15.6 billion (FDI), 8.8 per cent more than the same period of the previous year, an average of $35 billion per year.”
Speaking on Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) negotiations, the ambassador said they will reach a “very useful agreement” that will aid the economic growth of Mexico.
“It is a great opportunity to renegotiate Nafta and we have reached a better condition for the new trade with the US and Canada. We are hopeful that we will reach a very useful agreement,” she said.
“Mexico and the US economy is integrated. More than 80 per cent of our trade is with the United States. New Nafta will help Mexico and its economic growth. It is in the interests of both the countries that we have a very good agreement.”