Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade visited Jordan last month to discuss expanding diplomatic ties. In an email interview, Alejandra Galindo Marines, professor of social sciences at the University of Monterrey, discussed Mexico’s relations with the Middle East.
WPR: Who are Mexico’s primary partners in the Middle East, and how extensive are relations?
Alejandra Galindo Marines: In terms of historical ties, Mexico’s main partners are Egypt, with whom Mexico has had relations since the 19th century, and Lebanon, with whom ties were established in 1947. Both countries provided an avenue to advance Mexico’s interactions with the rest of the Middle East. Diplomatic relations were formalized with the majority of Middle Eastern countries in the 1970s under President Luis Echeverria, though Mexico has not been an active diplomatic partner. Relations with the region have focused on multilateral issues and, to some extent, cultural and educational exchanges. Currently, Mexico’s major trading partners in the region are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Despite an increase in trade since 2000, exports to the Middle East account for around just 1 percent of Mexico’s total exports.