Media Remarks by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, on occasion of the 2nd South Africa-Mexico Bi-National Commission (BNC), Pretoria – 17 October 2014

Dear members of the media.

Our diplomatic relations with Mexico were established in 1993 and the South African Embassy opened in Mexico City in 1994.  So our presence in Mexico is as YOUNG as our democracy in South Africa, which still leaves significant scope for further growing our bilateral engagements.

Since then Mexico has become one of our top 3 trade partners in Latin America and the Caribbean, while South Africa is Mexico’s largest trade partner in Africa and largest African investor in Mexico.

In 2010 the first Bi-National Commission (BNC) was held in Mexico. At the BNC the former Mexican Foreign Minister and I signed a Joint Statement establishing a priority relationship.

Between 2010 and 2014 more government departments and agencies established relations and 6 agreements covering different areas of cooperation were signed.

On 26 September 2014, the 2nd BNC technical meeting was held here at DIRCO, with thirteen (13) government departments and agencies participating in two sub-committees. At this meeting, a Cooperation Agreement between the National Zoological Gardens of the RSA and Mexico City’s Municipal authorities of Environmental Affairs was signed.

Today, the 2nd BNC Ministerial meeting was held with my Mexican counterpart, Minister Jose Antonio Meade, allowing the two countries to reflect on our portfolio of relations and projects of cooperation.

When Minister Meade and I, together with our delegations, have discussed the outcomes report of the technical meeting, reflecting on the state of relations, we acknowledged that giant steps between our countries have been taken, especially since the 1st BNC in 2010.

Ladies and gentlemen, today you have witnessed the signing of 6 more agreements, including an “Action Plan: South Africa and Mexico towards a priority relationship”.

Today more than 20 Government departments and agencies have bilateral relations and contact with Mexico or are in the process of establishing such relations. 

It is therefore important to mention that the cooperation we are talking about here are in line with the New Growth Path (NGP) priorities, as supported by the National Development Plan, and include job creation, energy, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism.

We should also acknowledge the fact that other forms of cooperation are equally important, covering the building blocks of society, such as food security, science and technology, social development, health, water resources, conservation, youth and education, as well as arts and culture.

Lastly I wish to thank Minister Meade for the positive engagement we had today. Apart from bilateral cooperation, we also had the chance to cover continental and regional issues, as well as our positions on multilateral matters such as Peacekeeping, the Open Government Partnership and the G20.

I thank you, muchas gracias!

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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