Mexican Senate Speaker Ernesto Cordero speaks with The Korea Times at the Embassy of Mexico in Seoul, Jan. 24.
By Yi Whan-woo
Mexico and Korea should consider resuming talks on bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), after they conclude their respective renegotiations on trade treaties with the United States, the head of the Mexican Senate says.
"I think the smartest thing to do is wait until Mexico and the U.S. renegotiate our treaty," Ernesto Cordero, speaker of the Senate of Mexico, told The Korea Times during his visit to Korea last week. "Korea has also begun to renegotiate its free trade agreement with the U.S. We'll have much better conditions to engage again in negotiations and that's what's going to happen."
The FTA talks have been among pending issues between Korea and Mexico since 2008.
Presidents Moon Jae-in and Enrique Pena Nieto promised to make efforts to resume the talks in May 2017 when Moon took office.
But the two countries have made little progress since then amid renegotiations of the Korea-U.S. FTA and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in line with U.S. President Donald Trump's demands.
Meanwhile, Cordero travelled to Korea at the invitation of National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun.
According to the Embassy of Mexico in Korea, Cordero met Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, Mexico-Korea Parliamentary Friendship Group President Lee Sang-hee, Samsung Electronics Executive Vice President Kim Won-kyong and Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun and discussed a wide range of issues, such as security and foreign affairs, as well as Korean businesses in Mexico.
He said he supports Korea joining the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc formed in 2011 among Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
He said Mexico is considering having an inter-parliamentary meeting with Korea every year as part of efforts to enhance their relations. Mexico holds such meetings only with Spain and the U.S.
Regarding meetings with Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor executives, Cordero said they "show strong commitment to Mexico" amid growing U.S. protectionist policies against Mexico and Korea.
Samsung has home appliances plants in Mexico, and Hyundai Motor also has a plant there.
"I had a very good conversation. As far I understand, they are very pleased to be working in Mexico and they show strong commitment to keep investing in Mexico," Cordero said.
Mexico and Korea are members of MIKTA, a group named after the first letters of the five middle powers including Indonesia, Turkey and Australia.
Cordero said MIKTA has been a very good platform for its members to "share a common vision" on international cooperation, such as a ban on North Korea's nuclear weapons.
Cordero also delivered a speech on "Mexico in changing times: Challenges and opportunities" at Sungkyunkwan University and visited Busan, where the Korean company Highland Foods will set up a distribution center for Mexican fruit.