homepage_name! > Editions > Number 118 > Ambassador - Mexico

H.E. Marco Antonio García Blanco, Ambassador of Mexico in Serbia

Mexico

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in North America bordered by the United States to the north, by Guatemala and Belize to the southeast, by the Pacific Ocean to the west, and by the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean) and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

The surface area of Mexico is 1,972,550km² and this makes it the 13th largest state in the world.

The biggest city and the capital of Mexico is Mexico City, and other bigger cities include Ecatepec de Morelos, Guadalajara, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez, Tijuana, Monterrey, and León.

According to the World Tourist Organization, Mexico attracts the most foreign tourists in Latin America, while it holds the 6th place in the world. Cultural and natural sites which UNESCO had declared World Heritage sites contribute to this; there are more than 35 of these in Mexico, which makes it the first in the Americas and the sixth in the world.

According to the Gross National Product, Mexico is the fourteenth global economy, and by purchasing power parity it is ranked No. 11 in the world.

Furthermore, Mexico is one of the countries with the biggest climate diversities in the world, it is considered to be one of 17 countries in the world with megadiversity; Mexico hosts between 10—12% of the world's biological diversity, and it is also home for 12,000 endemicspecies.

Around 6,000,000 citizens of Mexico speak some indigenous language as their mother tongue in their everyday life, and the most vastly spread is Náhuatl.

Mexican literature, along with the literatures of Spain, Argentina, and Cuba, is one of the most prolific and the most influential literatures of the Spanish speaking world.

The Mexican cuisine is renowned for its intense and various flavors, colorful decorations, as well as numerous spices. Nowadays, Mexican cuisine is largely based on the traditional meals of the pre-Columbian civilizations combined with the culinary trends introduced by the Spanish settlers.

The national sport of Mexico is charrería , a version of rodeo.

Mexico was the host of the Summer Olympic Games in 1968 (in Mexico City) and two world football championships, in 1970 and 1986, and for a third time as United 2026 jointly with USA and Canada.

  1. Your Excellency, how do you feel about being in Belgrade? Can you tell us about your impressions of Serbia?

My wife and I are very happy to have the privilege of representing Mexico in Serbia. It is a beautiful and pleasant country, with innumerable attractions and its people are open, friendly, hard-working, and supportive; which has facilitated our official activities and has allowed us to make endearing friendships. We particularly enjoy its gastronomy, its active cultural agenda, and walks through its multiple parks and green areas as well as walks to explore and learn about different towns and monasteries. We intend to visit even more of the interior of the country.

  1. How long have you held the position of ambassador in Serbia, and what was the course of your career in diplomacy before you came to Serbia?

I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico on June 1st 1982, in which I have had a 36 and a half years professional career. I started from the lowest position, as an assistant analyst, and reached the level of Minister through public opposition contest, until the President of Mexico gave me the rank of Ambassador. During this journey, I have been an Advisor to the Director General of Specialized Organizations of the UN, Head of Department in the General Directorate of International Organizations, Advisor to the Ambassador in Special Mission for Caribbean Affairs, Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassies of Mexico in Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela, Consul of Mexico in Honduras and in Arizona, Ambassador of Mexico in Nigeria concurrent to seven more countries of West Africa, and Permanent Representative to the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS). I arrived in Serbia two and a half years ago as Ambassador of Mexico concurrent to Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro.

  1. What is the current diplomatic and economic cooperation of our two countries like, and what was it like in the past? What should be changed in order to improve that cooperation?

Mexico and Serbia have a very good relationship in all fields. Of course, everything is perfectible and work is being done to strengthen and expand bilateral ties. Political dialogue is fluent due to both sides sharing common views on multiple issues on the global agenda. This is reflected in the high-level visits and in the political consultation mechanisms that we carry out on a regular basis, as well as in the permanent cooperation we develop in international organizations. Dialogue between the Parliaments is also present. As is known, Mexico does not recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, supports the territorial integrity of Serbia, as well Resolution 1244 (1999) of the United Nations Security Council for a peaceful and negotiated solution. This year we celebrate the 73rd anniversary of our bilateral diplomatic relations.

  1. How would you describe your cooperation with the Serbian Government and business associations for the purpose of entrepreneurship development?

Cooperation between the different levels of government and business organizations allows exchange of information to identify business and investment opportunities, co-investments, and strategic alliances to increase trade flows for the benefit of both parties. The Memoranda of Understanding signed in 2017 between ProMexico and the Serbian Development Agency (RAS), between the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE), as well as between the National Foreign Trade Bank of Mexico (Bancomext) and the Serbian Agency of Insurance and Export Credits (AOFI), have proven their usefulness.

  1. What is the nature of the foreign trade cooperation between our countries and which industries in Serbia have the most potential? What does Serbia export to Mexico, and what does it import from Mexico?

Although bilateral trade is still incipient, it is on a growing path: in 2018 the increase was 45% compared to 2017, 72.59% compared to 2016 and 79% if we take 2015 as a reference. In general, Mexico imports from Serbia turbochargers, auto parts and protein concentrates, and exports internal combustion engines, tequila, and beer.

  1. When it comes to investments, how do investors from Mexico see the Serbian market? What are the most influential companies that have made investments here?

Serbia is a market that per se attracts more and more the interest of Mexican entrepreneurs. However, Serbia is also attractive from a regional point of view as a gateway for the Balkans. It should be remembered that Mexico has had a free trade agreement with the European Union since 2000. The largest investment of Mexico in Serbia is through the mobile phone and internet company VIP, a subsidiary of Telekom Austria, which is the European unit of Mexican telecommunications company América Móvil, the fourth largest in the world. With an investment of one billion euros, with 2.2 million customers in Serbia, it is the third largest provider of such services in the country, where it generates 1,200 direct jobs. VIP is the largest Green Investor in Serbia.

  1. Today, Serbia is a candidate country – negotiations started in January, 2014.In your opinion, how far along is Serbia on the path towards the EU, and what will be crucial for Serbia to become a member state?

Serbia has repeatedly indicated its interest in being part of the European Union and is carrying out an important reform process that will allow it to move in that direction. It is a process that must be completed and the times depend on different variables, both endogenous and exogenous. Serbia will join the European Union at the right time. Mexico views with sympathy, respect, and solidarity the efforts of Serbia in that regard.

  1. Can you tell us about the relationship between Serbia and Mexico in the fields of science, culture, and education?

One of the priorities in the bilateral relationship is to update and expand the legal framework that regulates and promotes it, since many of the bilateral instruments we have date back many years. In the last two years we have advanced with the signing of three instruments that allow us to boost trade and investments. We are negotiating the update of the Treaty of Technical and Scientific Cooperation, and we are in the final phase of updating the Agreement on Educational, Cultural, and Sports Cooperation. We will shortly sign the Memorandum of Understanding between Diplomatic Academies, whose negotiation was concluded successfully. Similarly, both parties are considering other bilateral instruments that would allow us to further promote educational, cultural, sports, technical, and scientific cooperation.

  1. How would you present your country as a tourist attraction? Which characteristics and sights would you highlight?

Mexico is the 10th most populous country in the world with 130 million inhabitants and the largest Spanish speaking country. It’s the 11th largest economy in the world. According to Bloomberg, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and The Economist, Mexico will be the 9th largest economy worldwide by 2030 and the 7th by 2050. Between 2012 and 2018, Mexico got 181.7 billion USD of Foreign Direct Investment (average per year = 30.2 billion USD), 31.6 billion USD in 2018. According to the edition 22 (2019) of the Global CEO Survey prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mexico ranked among the 10 most attractive countries for investment globally. Mexico has a network of 13 Free Trade Agreements with 52 countries. Our yearly trade is 829.8 billion USD (2.27 billion USD daily).

Mexico has deep and ancient cultural roots that unite us as a nation and we are projected to the world with a unique identity. My country ranks among the 10 most visited countries in the world, with 41.5 million international visitors in 2018, 134.99% more than 2012. In 2018, 6.9 million people visited Mexico as cruise passengers. Mexico ranks 1st in the world as a cruise ship receiving country. Mexico’s touristic offer includes beach destinations, colonial cities, archaeological sites, modern & cosmopolitan cities, as well as business, ecological, and medical tourism facilities. Mexico ranks 7th in the number of sites included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, with 35 in total (1st place in Latin America). Mexican gastronomy is one of the cuisines in the world declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The traditional Mexican music of Mariachi and Charrería (equestrian tradition), are also two of the ten Mexican cultural manifestations declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Mexico is a peaceful and friendly country with a wide touristic offer for all budgets.

While there are multiple direct flights to Mexico from the various capitals of Western Europe, I would like to emphasize that as of August 21st, 2019 Turkish Airlines will inaugurate three flights per week on the Belgrade-Mexico City-Cancun-Belgrade route, via Istanbul, with a promotional rate of 705 euros round trip.

  1. How do you spend your free time?

With family, friends, reading, traveling, and playing the guitar, an instrument of which I am an eternal apprentice.


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