Government signs agreement with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

By Elliot Bullman

Deal opens markets for Mexican products

Mexico´s federal government has signed a deal with leading Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba that will enable Mexican companies to list their products and services on the site and gain access to increasingly lucrative markets.

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A government undersecretary and the company’s president signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at company headquarters in Hangzhouin a ceremony witnessed by President Enrique Peña Nieto and Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma.

The Secretariat of Economy will partner with the massive online consumer market — the world’s largest — giving Mexican companies the chance to sell to a growing middle class in the world’s most populous nation.

Alibaba will provide its expertise in logistics and payments and share analytics so that companies can better target the Chinese market.

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The deal comes as Mexico is seeking to diversify its trade relationships in the face of a possible breakdown in renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

While recognizing scope for growth in the Mexico-China trade relationship, experts say that difficulties could arise from the fact that both countries compete for business with the U.S. because of the distance between the two countries.

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However, there is an incentive to both sides as an increasing number of Chinese consumers have reportedly acquired a taste for Mexican products including avocados and tequila. Exports of the fruit have surged from 17 tonnes in 2009 to more than 10,000 tonnes annually, according to Mexican government data.

Chinese officials also said that China was interested in the possibility of pursuing a free trade agreement between the two countries.

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