Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu met with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi on Monday to discuss strengthening the relationship between the two nations following the election of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
Prior to meeting with Ruiz Massieu, Jiechi had flown to New York to meet with top Trump officials.
On Monday’s meeting, the two diplomats discussed an economic partnership, as both countries are worried about what trade with the U.S. will look like under a Trump presidency.
Trump has promised to ban jobs from leaving the country, affecting employment in two of the United States’ largest trade partners: China and Mexico.
Following the meeting, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement:
“They agreed to deepen mutual trust and develop the bilateral dialogue about subjects of mutual interest via the Mexico-China Strategic Dialogue.”
The ministry did not give any more details.
This partnership comes as a surprise to many, as Mexico and China are global manufacturing rivals. Both employ cheap labor and compete for trade with some of the largest importers worldwide, including the United States.
The beginning of the Mexico-China partnership was apparent just last week, when Mexico awarded China with two deepwater oil blocks for the country’s offshore oil efforts. China bid on these blocks in an auction in an effort to boost its energy reform initiatives.
This marks China’s first national oil and natural gas trading center. Additionally, China has been investing in alternative energy which is grabbing U.S. attention. Apple, the tech giant, is expecting to use China’s wind energy systems to generate 100% of its energy from renewable sources. Wind power plants create between 17 and 39 times the amount of power that they consume, making them highly desirable.
After Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto threw away the plans for rail and retail projects between his country and China, it appeared that the relationship between the countries had ceased. But this new agreement has put the manufacturing rivals back on the track to cooperation.
“The China-Mexico relationship is back on again,” said Evan Ellis, a research professor at the U.S. Army War College. “The election of President Trump and the associated threat to NAFTA probably was one driver for [Pena Nieto] to position Mexico to diversify its foreign economic engagements.”
Trump plans to scrap or reevaluate NAFTA, which is concerned to many proponents of trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.