Interview with Mexico's Ambassador to the UK, Diego Gomez Pickering

Mexico's new ambassador to the UK has arrived in London on a mission to improve relations between the two countries. LatAm INVESTOR caught up with him to find out what Mexico can offer British investors...

Mexico's economy is 'opening up'; where are the best opportunities for our readers?

I think that energy sector definitely will be in the interest of potential British investors. But beyond that, we must not forget the telecommunications and infrastructure sectors - both will offer extremely attractive opportunities. Energy and telecommunications may require a little more patience since the implementation of reforms will take some more time, but infrastructure opportunities will be available in the short term.

Mexico is embarking on a building spree

The six year infrastructure plan is quite ambitious and will demand high volumes of investment and resources.  During their recent visit to UK, last June, President Peña Nieto, and key members of his cabinet took note of the interest of some of the biggest British telecom, energy, and infrastructure companies, to participate in the projects that will soon be implemented in Mexico.

I also think that we will see developments in areas that already link both economies. So, for example, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, aerospace, electronics and food and beverages. These sectors have seen both investment and returns grow quickly over the last decade.

Your British counterpart in Mexico told us of plans to double trade between the two countries by 2015 - is that feasible?

In 2010 when bilateral trade was around $3.7billion, both countries committed to double the amount by 2015: we know where we are and where we have to move. Our trade balance in 2013 closed around $5billion with a slight surplus for Mexico. We have established high-level dialogue mechanisms for economic and for trade issues. I am aware that during the last session of the talks it was agreed to concentrate more in market share than in quantitative indicators: that is, to increase our market share from 0.6 to 1.5%. We are confident of achieving this goal but the idea is that we have to continue increasing the trade flow from both sides of the Atlantic at a faster pace.

Mexico and the U.K. have built a solid friendship, based on mutual solidarity and cooperation. Now is the right time to make the decisions that will tap our potential for greater success that translates into better standards of living for our two nations. The UK should take advantage of Mexico with its role as emerging market, committed to sustainable growth, free trade and strong enterprises, companies and institutions.

I believe in “Mexico’s moment”. Our country is now a good place to invest for the U.K companies since we provide a safe and trustworthy environment for foreign capital. Mexico will continue to work to ensure the dynamism and competitiveness of its economy.

Mexico certainly has lots of promise but many UK companies are worried about insecurity and violence; is it a serious challenge?

President Enrique Peña Nieto prioritises a peaceful Mexico as his top national goal. We are convinced that our country needs a paradigm change, one in which justice, inclusion and prevention are fundamental elements to fulfil true security.

The National Security Strategy has been raised to the level of State Policy, and is underpinned by a multidimensional security focus that puts the wellbeing of citizens and the forefront of its concerns, by emphasising prevention and the reduction of crime. The Strategy considers six policy directives: planning, prevention, promotion and defence of human rights, coordination, institutional transformation and evaluation.

This new focus is not only designed to enforce the law and, if need be, for the State to make use of force in order to guarantee safety, but also to counteract the vulnerabilities created by consumption and violence through the implementation of social programmes. It is for this purpose that nine State Secretariats are coordinated making of prevention an authentic priority.

"Our country is now a good place to invest for the U.K companies since we provide a safe and trustworthy environment for foreign capital…"

It is not possible to disassociate the problem of drugs to that of illegal access to guns, due to the violence that is derived from organised crime. By fighting the scourges of illegal drug and arms trafficking, we will be responding to one of the most urgent demands made by our citizens: they want safe boroughs, peaceful cities and countries. It is only under these conditions that they can develop true opportunities and build a healthy and promising future.

This is also a perception issue. We still have a lot of work to do in terms of Mexico’s international image. This task, involves the Embassy, along with other institutions of the Mexican government presents in the UK, such as the Tourism Board, ProMéxico and the Consulate, for instance.

We will also need a joint effort to approach the media. London has traditionally been a city that generates international agenda, news which are read in the rest of the world with great impact. One of our main tasks is to keep improving the image of Mexico among British nationals. The idea is to portray Mexico as a stable economy, with a strong banking system, a democratic government and favorable demographics.