Argentina's President Nestor Kirchner said Monday it's essential that Mexico joins the Mercosur trade bloc. Kirchner is on a three-day trip to Mexico with his wife and presidential candidate Senator Cristina Fernandez to sign accords with President Felipe Calderon to deepen trade and investment between the two countries.
"We should hold the discussions step by step in order to have a balanced integration that will strengthen the Mercosur bloc and all its countries" said Kirchner in a news conference with Mexican President Calderon in Mexico City. "We need to promote bilateral trade and reciprocal investments with sustainable productive initiatives", said Kirchner adding that the "strategic association agreement is going to help multiply trade agreements and investments, and signals the beginning of greater cooperation and understanding". The Argentine delegation includes besides the Kirchner couple, Foreign Affairs minister Jorge Taiana; Economy minister Miguel Peirano; legal and technical secretary Carlos Zannini, presidential spokesperson Miguel Nuñez and the leaders of both Houses. On Tuesday President Kirchner will be visiting the Mexican Senate and later is scheduled to meet the head of Mexico City government, Marcelo Ebrard. On Wednesday the last day, Kirchner and presidential candidate Cristina will be participating in an economic forum with Mexico's main businessmen and sharing lunch with four of the most influential of them including Carlos Slim, considered the world's second richest man. According to the Mexican newspaper "La Jornada" an estimated 50 Mexican companies have significant investments in Argentina. "When Argentines drink Coca Cola, visit Buenos Aires zoo, buy a General Electric stove, eat Bimbo or Fargo bread, purchase pharmaceutical products from Doctor Simi and listen to radio Rock and Pop, they are without knowing it, consuming Mexican goods or services". The list must also include the CTI cellular phones system which is linked to Telmex and tycoon Carlos Slim. Political analysts in Buenos Aires consider the Kirchner visit to Mexico and conservative pro business president Calderón as an attempt to diversify Argentina's dependency on Brazil as well as sending a message to foreign investors looking ahead to a possible administration under Cristina Kirchner.