May 4, 2011

Wilkommen President Wulff!

Ranking 14th in the global economy, Mexico's fortunes are on the rise! This little snippet hasn't gone unnoticed; a steady stream of world leaders have been visiting the country of late. This weekend was the turn of Germany's President Christian Wulff. He was closeted for hours with President Calderón. Then, once the vitally important, but ultimately boring, business stuff was over, it was time for a bit of sight-seeing.

President and First Lady Wulff in Mexico

President Wulff arrived in Mexico City on Sunday. He and his glamorous First Lady, Bettina Wulff, wasted no time before taking in some of the country's ancient architectural treasures. They are photographed (above) at Teotihuacan, atop the famous Pyramid of the Moon. This was once the Aztec capital and it is located not far out of its modern counterpart.

The next day, the couple were received by President Calderón at an official welcome party. The two leaders were photographed greeting local children, before the more formal introduction to dignitaries and politicians. They were also taken on a tour of the historic Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City. There was a dinner party given in their honor during the evening.

President and President Calderon in Mexico

In a mixture of fun, business networking and photo opportunites, they had a hectic schedule. It included visits to an orphanage; a nutrition research center; downtown Guanajuato; and a whirlwind tour of some of the 1,200 German owned industries based in Mexico. President Wulff also gave a keynote speech at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and met with human rights representatives.

Business confidence is high for Mexico at the moment. The country officially stepped out of the international recession at the end of 2010, while many other nations are still crippled under it. Economic growth topped 5.5% last year and it shows no sign of slowing down. In January, this year, the International Monetary Fund happily approved a $72b credit line for Mexico, as a safety net against European and US/Canadian investors unable to make good on their stakes. Meanwhile, India has elevated Mexico to Most Favored Trade Nation status, in a 10 year bilateral agreement signed just last month.

President and First Lady Wulff in Mexico

Germany has already invested a large amount of capital in Mexican businesses, creating around 130,000 jobs in the process. President Wulff, in his speech, stated that Mexico is 'a good friend and an outstanding partner for Germany'. He also urged German private investors to seek their profits here. It was much of the same tone and rhetoric that Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, used on a similar visit last month.

President and First Lady Wulff in Mexico

However, President Wulff had more to say. He is very interested in the technological innovations, in creating green and sustainable energy, which are coming out of Mexico. An agreement has been made, with President Calderón, that Mexico and Germany should work together on anything that would combat climate change, while protecting the environment. Knowledge, research and technology will be shared in a bilateral pact.

President Wulff said, "Renewable energy will be one of the issues of the future, (while) the professional training of apprentices and students will be another area for cooperation in the future, as well as more investment by German companies in Mexico and by Mexican companies in Germany."

Mexico and Germany

All in all, it seems to have been a very successful trip!

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