Fernández and López Obrador strengthen ties between Argentina and Mexico

Fernández's first visit to Mexico as president, relaunches joint business relations. Photo EFE

The Governments of Mexico and Argentina have sealed their regional leadership this Monday and demonstrated the good state of their diplomatic relations with their cooperation in the manufacture of the vaccine against covid-19 to try to supply a good part of Latin American countries.

On his first day of visit to Mexico, the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, toured the Liomont laboratory plant, which packages the AstraZeneca anticovid vaccine, located in Ocoyoacac, a municipality practically neighboring the capital.

It was a symbolic gesture of the bilateral agreement to accelerate the manufacture of the antidote and the immunization process for the populations of both countries and the rest of the region.

On August 12, 2020, Argentina and Mexico announced an agreement to produce for Latin America the coronavirus vaccine developed by the AstraZeneca laboratory in collaboration with the British University of Oxford.

The vaccines, financed in part by the Carlos Slim Foundation, are manufactured in the Argentine laboratory mAbxience, belonging to the Insud Group, and the packaging is carried out by the Mexican laboratory Liomont.

"This will allow timely and sufficient access to the potential vaccine for all countries in the region," Fernández said at the time.

Latin America is today the region hardest hit by the pandemic with more than 20 million infected and around 650.000 deaths, and immunization plans are advancing very unevenly among countries due to the shortage of antidotes.

For all these reasons, the Mexico-Argentina axis, at least in terms of the production of vaccines 'made in' Latin America, is seen with good eyes.

In addition, Argentina helped Mexico receive the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which has become an alternative for all of Latin America.

“We began to realize that it was not possible to depend on a single pharmacist, even on a single country, and that we had to diversify everything related to obtaining the vaccine. And we learned that in Argentina they had reached an agreement with the Government of the Russian Federation, ”López Obrador explained this Monday.

The Mexican president has downplayed foreign policy and chilled in 2019, during Fernández's first visit to Mexico as president-elect, the proposal to promote a progressive Latin American “axis”.

But today he seamlessly celebrated the visit of his Argentine counterpart: "Beyond politics, there is a purpose of cooperation between our peoples, between our governments, and we are very satisfied."

For the coordinator of the Center for Political Studies of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Khemvirg Puente, this vaccination program places the two nations "at the head" of the region in the matter.

"And at this moment, in the face of the health emergency, the important thing is that both countries position themselves as leaders in the region so that in this sense they can begin to join other countries in order to generate support for their policies and their discourse," said the expert.

Business ties

Fernández landed early in the day in Mexico City and met with Mexican businessmen from various sectors, from petrochemicals to telecommunications, such as the Alfa group, Coppel, Rotoplas, Kaluz, Cinépolis or América Móvil.

He spoke with them about the prospects and challenges of the Argentine economy and presented the sectors considered strategic and open to foreign investment.

Although they are the second and third largest economies in Latin America, Argentina is the 29th trading partner of the Mexican economy, while Mexico ranked 10th in Argentine trade.

"We are not talking about the past, we are talking about the future, this is an economy that is opening up, we have seen a recovery in Argentina in the last three months," said Armando Torrado, director for South America of the Mexican restaurant conglomerate Alsea after the meeting.

At the end of this Monday, Fernández will hold a meeting with intellectuals at the Argentine Embassy in Mexico and on Tuesday he will visit the National Palace for a work meeting and press conference with López Obrador.

This will be followed by a working breakfast together with the foreign ministers of both nations, Marcelo Ebrard and Felipe Solá.

Subsequently, Fernández will participate in an act commemorating the anniversary of the death of former President Francisco I. Madero, who was assassinated in 1913.

He will then meet with the magnate Carlos Slim and later with both Mexican and Argentine businessmen, in a new exercise to strengthen commercial ties between the two Latin American countries.

After being named "distinguished guest" by the Government of Mexico City, he will go to the Senate of Mexico for a solemn session announced as a "gesture of friendship."

Finally, on Wednesday 24, Fernández will participate with his Mexican counterpart in the commemoration ceremony of the bicentennial of the Plan of Iguala, an event that laid the foundations for declaring independence from Spain, and the celebrations of Flag Day.




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