Prime Minister John Briceno returned home over the weekend after heading a delegation in Mexico where he engaged in a series of bilateral meetings. During the five-day visit, PM Briceno and his team met with several government ministers and representatives of Mexican bodies with the aim to expand trade and investment opportunities for the Belizean economy. Here is what he told the Government Press Office on Saturday.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We met with Fonatur – with the Director of Fonatur who is the group in charge of developing the Tren Maya project that connects the entire south and south west of Mexico and looking at how we can more sooner than later link up to Tren Maya. We discussed about how at the moment to bring at least to end at the border where we could put the modern facilities for the tourists to offload and again with goods that we can bring from Mexico. We also discussed a very interesting concept, how is it that we can connect San Pedro all the way up to Cancun which is called the Riviera Maya and we’re looking at – there’s a canal that separates the island of Ambergris Caye from Mexico and so by Mahahual so once we can connect that you can get on your car and from San Pedro Drive all the way to Cancun or from Cancun drive all the way to San Pedro. We’re talking with Fonatur to see how we can come up with a master development plan for northern San Pedro.”
Joining PM Briceno was Agriculture Minister Jose Mai, who has been pushing to have Belize penetrate the Mexican markets in several industries. Just recently, BAHA indicated that Belize has gotten the green light to renew the export of shrimp to Mexico.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “As it is right now we’ve managed to get them to accept the exportation of shrimp from Belize into Mexico. We’re working hard on getting our cattle, more of our cattle, into Mexico and when I met with the president Andres Lopez Obrador we spoke about seeing if we can remove those import duties that they have so that we could be more competitive. With the president we had a very good meeting, it went more than an hour much longer that what anybody anticipated and we spoke about the partial scope agreement on trade and investment, we discussed Escuela Mexico. We were talking about setting up an Escuela Mexico in Pueblo Viejo in the Toledo District, they’re prepared to do the funding for that. We also discussed about the vaccines and so many other projects as I’ve already mentioned Tren Maya and the linking of Ambergris Caye to Mexico. The president is very excited about strengthening the relations between Belize and Mexico, they look at us a younger brother and feel that they can help us in our development.”
There were also discussions revolving around the financial sector. PM Briceno says high government officials met with representatives from the Bank of Mexico with the aim to ease financial transactions across the border.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Minister Coye met with the officials of the Bank of Mexico to see again how from our Central Bank to the Bank of Mexico we could make financial transactions easier. If we want to improve commerce between both countries then we need to also work from central bank to central bank. So overall it was a very exciting time, very good meetings. We met with the Ambassador of Kuwait, the Ambassador of Russia and several other groups. We met with the private sector and there is great interest and excitement about Belize. Now we have to make sure now that all of those discussions that we can put them onto action.”
PM Briceno was the only head of state to attend Mexico’s Independence Consummation Ceremony.