The following article was contributed by the Mexican Embassy in South Korea to mark the 203rd anniversary of Mexico’s independence. ― Ed.
The month of September brings with it national festivities for Mexico, the most important being Independence Day, which remembers the fight for independence that began in the morning of Sept. 16, 1810 in the state of Guanajuato.
The celebration of our independence allows us to reflect on Mexico and the future that we are working for. The President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto has set out to transform the country based on five major national goals: To have a peaceful, inclusive, well-educated, prosperous, and globally-responsible Mexico. To do so, several reforms and structural changes are taking place in the country in different sectors, which let the government build the prosperous Mexico we are looking for.
But the celebration of national independence also allows us to stop and think about the accomplishments and positive aspects that feature our country. Mexico is the 11th-largest country worldwide, with territory covering 2 million square kilometers. It is the home of 118 million inhabitants and the biggest Spanish-speaking nation in the world with a great history and longstanding traditions, turning it into one of the richest cultures in the Mesoamerican region. Traditions, music, diverse gastronomy and a solid array of cultural and artistic expressions converge every day in Mexico.
Mexico’s economy grows every day and evolves with world trends. It has a total GDP of $1.17 trillion (IMF/2012), making it the 13th-largest economy in the world. The country has become one of the most attractive markets for investment due to several factors, especially its geographical location: south of the United States and north of Latin America and the Caribbean, plus great openings to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic through its 11,000 km of coastline.
Today, more than 1,500 companies with Korean capital have settled down in Mexico, taking advantage of the business opportunities offered by their Mexican peers. This reality has improved the bilateral trade, which in 2012 totaled $15 billion, opening the path towards the consolidation of a brighter economic agenda between our countries, transforming our Strategic Partnership for Mutual Prosperity in the 21st century into a deeper and wider agreement.
As the 10th-largest exporter and importer worldwide, Mexico has a free trade agreement network with 44 countries, which guarantees preferential access to leading markets and trade regions. In 2012, Mexico recorded total trade of $740 billion, with exports totaling $371 billion and imports worth $369 billion. In this favorable environment, many of the country’s economic sectors are experiencing an exceptional development and are able to offer low costs, great quality and growth perspectives that compete head to head with the world’s finest industrial hubs. The automotive, aerospace, electronic, creative industry, IT and software sectors, as well as agribusiness, and services such as tourism and banking, continue to attract international investment.
Furthermore, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile have launched the Pacific Alliance, a platform for regional integration that will allow a greater mobility of goods, services and people within their borders looking toward achieving a major presence in the eyes of the nations of the Pacific Rim. The four countries of the alliance have FTAs among them, creating a potential market of 215 million consumers with an average yearly income of $13,000 per capita. As an example of this, if the Pacific Alliance were considered a country, its GDP would total $1.9 trillion with annual growth rates of 4-5 percent, becoming an even greater market for Korean companies.
Mexico and Korea began diplomatic relations on Jan. 16, 1962. Since then, an increasing number of visits and contact between high-ranking officials, entrepreneurs, scholars and students from both countries have given substance and dynamism to the mutual agenda and it is evident that the relations will continue to develop.
Today, there are many reasons to celebrate the anniversary of Mexico’s independence but it is important to understand that there are still several challenges to overcome in the future. This year both countries have new governments, which opens the door for more and new exciting achievements in the short and medium term.