AMMAN — As Jordan and Mexico celebrate the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, plans are under way to increase collaboration across various fields, said Mexico’s Ambassador to Jordan Roberto Rodriguez-Hernandez.
“Diplomatic relations between Jordan and Mexico are gradually strengthening at various levels. Despite the geographical distance, what unites both countries are their close cultures and history,” he told The Jordan Times in an interview on Wednesday.
Diplomatic relations between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the United Mexican States began on July 9, 1975, according to Hernandez.
He noted that this same year witnessed the international trip of the then President of Mexico, Luis Echeverria, which spanned three continents, and included a visit to Jordan, where he agreed with His Majesty King Hussein to intensify trade and tourism between both countries.
King Abdullah visited Mexico in 2014 and met with the then President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto. The visit resulted in inking agreements to increase technical and bilateral relations, explore the free trade agreement and improve cooperation in education and cultural exchange, he added.
In 2019, Mexico was among the top 25 countries that exported merchandise to Jordan. In 2022, bilateral trade between Jordan and Mexico amounted to approximately $120 million, according to Hernandez.
He noted that Mexico mainly imports chemical products and fertilisers from Jordan, while Jordan primarily imports automobiles and air conditioners from Mexico.
The ambassador also stressed the need to bolster promotion in “key areas” in order to increase the currently “modest” volume of bilateral trade, especially following disruptions caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent global conflicts.
Jordan could act as a “platform to promote Mexico's interests in the region”, while Mexico could become the “ideal” gateway for the entry of Jordanians products and services into the United States and all of Latin America, he said.
To this end, work is being done on different initiatives, such as establishing cargo flights in both directions, and obtaining support for investment opportunities after the signing of an agreement between the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade and an association of Jordanian businessmen, Hernandez added.
He further noted that Mexico is interested in restarting negotiations related to establishing a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Additionally, the Embassy of Mexico has presented strategies to the Jordanian government to facilitate the entry of Mexican products, such as avocados, refrigeration appliances, coffee, beef and malt beer, among others, Hernandez said.
The Mexican government is also currently exploring opportunities to increase exports of Halal-certified food to the Middle East, including Jordan, he added.
The ambassador said that Mexico and Jordan are building cooperation in the field of tourism to increase tourist flows to both countries.
Over 70,000 Mexicans visited Jordan between 2014 and 2022. Last year, 12,807 Mexican tourists travelled to Jordan, and this figure is expected to “notably” rise in 2023, returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to Hernandez.
He also pointed out that negotiations are currently ongoing to establish direct air flights between Mexico and Jordan. Moreover, there’s an initiative to collaborate with Turkish Airlines for the exchange of visits by influencers to promote various forms of tourism, including religious and medical.
Hernandez added that a Jordanian delegation, including officials from the Ministry of Tourism and the Royal Court, will visit Mexico this December with the aim of promoting tourism sites there. The following year, a delegation from Mexico will visit Jordan to promote its tourism sites.
Cultural and academic cooperation
Educational and academic cooperation between the two countries has materialised in 15 memorandums of understanding between different Jordanian and Mexican universities, which will lead to the establishment of various academic exchange programmes for both students and faculty members, said Hernandez.
A new edition in Arabic of the book “A new Compact History of Mexico,” by El Colegio de México was recently published, offering an overview of the social and political life of Mexico, he noted.
The embassy’s cultural programme in Jordan has consisted of photographic and film exhibitions as well as musical and dance presentations, which promote an increased understanding of Mexican and Latin American culture and values in Jordan, Hernandez added.
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