Just two days before the United Kingdom ambassador, Duncan Taylor, leaves his post as diplomatic representative of the European country; he predicted that the next presidential term with Andrés Manuel López Obrador will continue to strengthen ties of friendship and investments in Mexico.
“We can invest six thousand million pesos over the next four years in bilateral programs with Mexico to support the fight against climate change, efforts to fight corruption or strengthen the rule of law, and many more”.
The official residence of the UK ambassador looks somewhat sad after the move is already well underway; just a few paintings, chairs, rugs and tables are inside, the staff bustle goes up and down, and the movement of boxes is constant.
With a full smile, the ambassador receives Notimex in his foyer, leads to the room and sits down with a tea, and after a sip, points out to be surprised at the goodwill that Mexicans have towards the United Kingdom, “it’s very impressive, and that’s a bit the basis of the relationship we have”.
However, the diplomat said he was aware of the change of presidential term in Mexico, which will now be left-wing, while the British is conservative, “in that sense, I think we will continue to be very close partners despite the fact that from the political point of view may be a little different, I do not think that changes the fact that we are very strong friends”.
In addition, he said, elected president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expressed his desire to increase his economic relations with those countries that are less corrupt.
“The elected president has said he wants to focus trade with countries that have a strong record in the fight against corruption. We are one of the first countries in the world, in the last list of perceptions of corruption, we are in eighth place, and if that is what the he wants, he should want to do more trade with the United Kingdom.
He said that he has held meetings with Graciela Marquez Colin, the next head of Economy, with Jesus Seade, chief negotiator in the new trade agreement, Alfonso Romo, who will be the next chief of staff of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Carlos Urzua, future head of Finance, who told him their intentions to deepen trade relations with the United Kingdom.
The diplomat said that in the last five years, bilateral trade has grown about 50 percent, “I would have liked it to be more, and we have seen some important investments, but it would help to have stronger and more important investments to underline the importance that Mexico has for us”.
In this regard, he noted that British oil companies that have won bids for exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico, will make large investments in the coming years, which represents confidence in the future of the Mexican economy.
The above, “can give a very important boost to the business relationship as a whole, as many companies will come in the supply chain, service companies and others to work with them and Pemex, so I think that can have a significant impact on the Mexican economy,” he said.
The bilateral trade that today is around five thousand million dollars, is modest compared to what could be, said Duncan Taylor, so that “in 10 years I would not be surprised that this trade is not only double, but three times more than it is today, which would mean 15 thousand miillion dollars, with annual growth”.
He added that in the last five years, more than 65 British trade delegations have visited Mexico, which represents a growing interest in doing business with this country.
“We are two very important economies to make a bilateral trade relationship, we are two countries absolutely committed to free trade and I think that’s why we can, after we leave the European Union, seek to have a very ambitious bilateral agreement,” he said.
Nevertheless, the bilateral relationship is not only commercial; Taylor said that both countries have worked hand in hand on human rights and anti-corruption, in addition to being partners in the G20 and share values in the United Nations.
He pointed out that the main objective of all these programs is to reduce poverty and inequality, and promote inclusion, especially of women in the economy.
In terms of education, he recalled that more than 2,500 students travel to his country each year, especially to pursue master’s degrees and doctorates.”And that gives me great confidence for the future, that we will continue to have a very strong relationship with Mexico and we will continue to be partners, I am sure that we will work hand in hand at the UN, especially in the areas of poverty reduction in the world”.
To this end, they are already working with the Ministry of Public Education to deepen the relationship on issues of policy, objectives, in addition to having a global program of promotion and education, which will be managed from London, but Mexico, appears as a priority country in this.
“We just signed a mutual recognition agreement, which means that a Mexican who wants to go to study in the United Kingdom automatically the bachelor’s or master’s degree, is recognized by the Mexican authorities, so they can use it to ask for a job.
He added that education is the cornerstone in any government, as a friend and partner of Mexico, will work to see how they can share their experience to see if they can help support the efforts of the Mexican government and make education more inclusive.
As far as tourism is concerned, he said it is growing favorably after more than 500,000 British visit this country annually, of which 400,000 arrive at the Riviera Maya, with the city of Cancun being the first place.
“I would like to see more British people in other beautiful places that are in Mexico, such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, or the Copper Canyon, among others.
Just this day Duncan Taylor turns 60 years old, and will celebrate them in Mexico City; he says he feels satisfied and happy to have collaborated for five years in fortifying the relationship between his country and Mexico.
“Five years are an important part of your life, so I think we have a little bit of Mexico in our hearts, we have traveled all over the country, but I want to go back as a tourist to go to some places where I haven’t been able to go until now because of work”.
In addition, he commented, “we have very good Mexican friends, we love Mexicans as people, we like them very much, we have many friends, and my youngest son married a Mexican woman who works in London, so we have Mexican family, and even our dog is Mexican”.
Thus, on Friday night with a direct flight to Amsterdam, the ambassador who fell in love with typical dishes such as cochinita and tequila will leave to his home in Belgium, where he said, will have time to think about what he will do after his retirement.
Ambassador Taylor’s successor, Corin Robertson, has been in Mexico since August and is likely to deliver her credentials in the coming days, as she will begin work immediately after Duncan Taylor leaves the country.