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2009-10-29

Guatemala and Mexico step up commercial integration

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Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom (left) receives his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderón in the Guatemalan capital looking to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation, on Oct. 26, 2009.

Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom (left) receives his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderón in the Guatemalan capital looking to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation, on Oct. 26, 2009.

Thursday, Oct. 29

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – During their meeting in the Guatemalan capital, Mexican President Felipe Calderón and his host, Álvaro Colom, strengthened ties of friendship and cooperation between their countries in three areas that have risen to the top of the Central American political agenda: the fight against drug trafficking, immigration and economic integration.

One of the agreements signed at the National Palace of Culture on Oct. 26 will allow security forces to exchange information to fight “drug trafficking, organized crime, human trafficking, arms dealing and money laundering,” announced the two presidents in a joint statement published by EFE. Mexico and Guatemala share 963 kilometers of common border, which is commonly used by criminal gangs to transport drugs, arms and illegal immigrants.

If the two countries maintain a “close relationship,” they could turn their common border into an “example of development” in the medium-term future, stated Colom, according to AFP.

Guatemala also made the most of the Mexican president’s visit by seeking to revitalize the bilateral trade agreement that has been in place for over a decade, and which, according to El Economista, allowed trade between Mexico and the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) to rise to US$2.75 billion in 2007.

Separately, reported El Financiero, a new agreement provides for Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission to sell Guatemala 120 MW of electricity. With this, the presidents inaugurated the Los Brillantes electrical interconnection system, 200 kilometers to the south of the Guatemalan capital. The project cost US$55 million and will benefit more than a million people.

On immigration, Calderón announced that starting in 2010, Guatemalans from border regions will be able to enter the Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas and Quintana Roo without the need of a passport or visa, reported Prensa Libre. Agreement was also found in the area of tourism; Guatemala and Mexico instructed their respective authorities to facilitate the passage of people visiting the Mayan Corridor.

Colom’s government is strengthening diplomatic ties with both the north and south of the continent. He received Colombian President Álvaro Uribe on Oct. 13. Together, reported Siglo XXI, they set a Free Trade Agreement in motion and extended an agreement on police training to fight drug trafficking.

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