On May 5, 2022, the President of the United Mexican States, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, traveled with the Mexican delegation to Guatemala. The Mexican president met with the President of the Republic of Guatemala, Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla, to discuss priority issues on the bilateral agenda, promote economic integration and regional prosperity, and consolidate cooperation projects to reduce the structural causes of irregular migration. Mexico and Guatemala share a collaborative understanding, mutual respect, and friendship that bond the two countries.
This meeting, the fourth held between the leaders, takes place within the framework of the first international tour of the head of the Mexican State, which begins in Guatemala as an expression of the privileged relationship between neighbors and partners, united by their historical and cultural legacy.
Previously, the President of Guatemala visited Mexico during the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Mérida, Yucatán on September 22, 2019; within the framework of the commemoration of the “End of the Caste War” in Chan Santa Cruz, Quintana Roo and in Mexico City, on May 3 and 4, 2021, and during the VI Summit of Heads of State and the Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), on September 18 of the same year, in Mexico City.
As a result of the visit, the presidents agreed to the following:
They welcomed the entry into force, on February 17, of the Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance and Exchange of Information in Customs Matters, by means of which joint operations in customs matters may be carried out, through specific arrangements, which allow facilitating the implementation of said operations at the crossing points that are determined in accordance with the feasibility and commercial impact.
In this sense, they instructed the competent authorities to agree, within a period of between three and six months, the specific arrangements derived from the Agreement. These actions will create a space for economic prosperity, customs cooperation and trade facilitation, which will speed up the crossing of goods and reduce costs and logistics times.
Honramos al presidente @lopezobrador_ con la más alta condecoración de Guatemala, la Orden del Quetzal, y lo reconocemos como un gran amigo de nuestra nación. #VisitaOficialMx ????? pic.twitter.com/XUnyl7ANBH
— Alejandro Giammattei (@DrGiammattei) May 6, 2022
They highlighted the formalization of the “Crossing Point for the passage of Cargo within the Engineers – Nuevo Orizaba Border Crossing” and welcomed the agreement to grant it a commercial vocation, for which the leaders instructed the corresponding authorities to form a working group of high level to meet as soon as possible, in order to define the weight and the conditions in which the commercial exchange will be carried out in this Border Port.
In accordance with the foregoing, and for the purpose of initiating cargo operations, Mexico welcomed the fact that Guatemala has begun the construction of its facilities, which it will call “Bicentennial Customs,” in this Border Port and considered that this additional Crossing Point could work under the modality of joint operations.
They agreed to encourage greater commercial flow through the other existing border crossings. For this reason, they instructed the competent authorities to expand the commercial vocation to allow the transit of heavy cargo in Mesilla-Ciudad Cuauhtémoc under the figure of joint operations with the support of Mexico for the use of its facilities.
They instructed the competent authorities to carry out approaches in order to explore better coordination mechanisms at the border (schedules, procedures, among others) in the border ports with the aim of improving the attention of tourists, the passage of merchandise, vehicles and means of transport, decongest operations and thus contribute to the facilitation of trade.
They welcomed the progress made in the framework of the Comprehensive Development Plan (PDI) between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico with the support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), as a strategy to address the structural causes of irregular migration through the creation of opportunities for economic and social development.
They are pleased with the actions aimed at the upcoming implementation of the Sembrando Vida Project in Guatemala and the announcement of the first records of applicants for this project in the Department of Chimaltenango, Guatemala, by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) based on the Letter of Intent on Bilateral Cooperation signed by the foreign ministers in May 2021.
The purpose of the Sembrando Vida project is to contribute to the food security of producers who live in rural locations with high rates of migratory flow and income below the average monthly salary. Through training and the implementation of agroforestry production systems the program encourages individual production and local consumption, as well as the marketing of products and surpluses.
They endorsed their interest in continuing efforts to promote safe, orderly, regular and circular migration, under a perspective of co-responsibility and full respect for human rights in all phases of the migration cycle. In this sense, they welcomed the initiative of Mexico to seek alternatives to increase the number of issuance of the Regional Visitor Card (TVR), as well as the Border Worker Visitor Card (TVTF) so that, with these immigration documents , the economy in border communities will be encouraged. Both countries expressed their willingness to disseminate information about both cards, in order to broaden their reach.
Mexico reiterated its commitment to the right to identity and social security of border workers from Guatemala, by having simplified the issuance of the Single Code of the Population Registry (CURP) as of April 26, a requirement for affiliation to the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS). Based on the foregoing, employers in the border area can guarantee the right to social security for Guatemalan workers from the first day they are hired, to the benefit of their families and the regional economy that receives them from the Mexican side.
They highlighted the valuable contribution that migration brings to economic, social and cultural development in the places of residence and in the countries of origin. They agreed on the need to join efforts to serve their respective nationals abroad and strengthen dialogue with local authorities through collective actions.
For this purpose, both presidents agreed to strengthen the collaboration mechanisms between the 23 consulates of Guatemala and the 51 of Mexico in the United States of America, as well as to initiate a joint dialogue with El Salvador and Honduras as part of a comprehensive migration management.
They agreed to promote the holding, during the second half of 2022, of a Ministerial Conference on Migration, with the aim of promoting an Action Plan that addresses the structural causes of irregular migration and includes concrete actions for development.
They welcomed the forthcoming establishment of a Mexican Consulate in the department of Petén. With this, the largest consular network of Mexico is formed in a country in Latin America and the Caribbean. The new consulate will serve the Mexican community, will expand the availability of consular services for Guatemalan nationals who wish to travel to Mexico and will encourage tourist and commercial flows.
They endorsed their commitment to continue carrying out actions to combat criminal activities linked to trafficking and smuggling of migrants through initiatives aimed at preventing, combating and prosecuting this crime.
El presidente @lopezobrador_ dejó un solemne mensaje en el Libro de Oro, como recuerdo de su visita a nuestra nación. #VisitaOficialMx ????? pic.twitter.com/NRorV2nLgW
— Alejandro Giammattei (@DrGiammattei) May 6, 2022
They celebrated the creation of the Immediate Action Group against the network of human traffickers responsible for the tragedy that occurred in Chiapas, Mexico, in December 2021, as a sign of the will of both countries to work in a coordinated manner to combat criminal networks. The Guatemalan president announced the actions carried out to toughen the sentences for those responsible for the smuggling of migrants, from 10 to 30 years, and stated that the promotion of similar legal measures in the region would allow greater protection for migrants and be more effective in combating this crime.
They instructed their technical teams to work on a proposal for an instrument to promote cooperation in combating the smuggling of migrants through the exchange of information and better coordination in matters of border security.
They committed to exchanging experiences and good practices in railway infrastructure and instructed the competent authorities to hold technical meetings to identify projects in which there could be binational collaboration.
They recognized the strategic value of the economic relationship between the two countries, in this sense, the president of Mexico welcomed the fact that Guatemala is the main trading partner of Central America. He recognized the measures that the government of President Giammattei has implemented in favor of the macroeconomic stability of that country, as well as the implementation of the “Guatemala Does Not Stop Plan,” and the objectives that are sought to be achieved with the “Walls of Prosperity” program, which has a territorial approach that aims to constitute poles of development and economic growth, particularly in the border area, promote the generation of employment and generate better living conditions.
They agreed on the need to continue making joint efforts to strengthen the commercial relationship and the promotion of bilateral investments, in order to take advantage of the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and Central America (FTA). They welcomed the holding of the IV meeting of the FTA Administrative Commission in December 2021. Among the results, the strengthening of the institutional framework of the Agreement stands out, as well as legal certainty for the economic operators of the member countries.
The Presidents instructed their authorities on trade issues, agreed on a roadmap to enhance the opportunities offered by the Mexico FTA with Central America, and resolved to promote bilateral trade in goods and services, work to resolve sanitary and phytosanitary issues, as well as address technical barriers to trade with the purpose of promoting the admissibility of exportable products from both countries. This will allow commercial exchange to contribute to economic growth, prosperity and help improve the quality of life of the population through the creation of better and greater employment opportunities.
Le doy la más fraternal bienvenida a nuestro país al presidente de México, @lopezobrador_, con quien abordaremos la amplia agenda bilateral. #VisitaOficialMx ????? pic.twitter.com/jz5bgKR0AI
— Alejandro Giammattei (@DrGiammattei) May 6, 2022
They discussed the start of operations of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport in Mexico. Guatemala expressed its congratulations to this important infrastructure work and the leaders agreed on the possibility that both countries expand their air frequencies, for which they welcomed the start of the routes between Guatemala and the cities of Tapachula and Cancun and the recently inaugurated routes between Guatemala with the cities of Mérida and Oaxaca, as well as the Guatemala-Chetumal route that will start soon.
They recognized the importance of collaborating on the comprehensive management of natural disasters and on sustainable and inclusive adaptation to climate change through the exchange of information, methodologies and good practices between both countries. Likewise, they instructed the corresponding authorities to advance in an instrument to carry out technical and scientific cooperation activities in matters of prevention, attention and mitigation of natural disasters.
They celebrated the transfer of the presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) from Mexico to Guatemala, which took place on April 29, during the XXVII ordinary meeting of this Council.
The President of the United Mexican States, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, thanked the People and Government of Guatemala for the cordial and warm reception he received during his stay in the country, with whom there is a great historical and cultural bond, since September 6, 1848, the date diplomatic relations were established.
Soledad Quartucci | Latina Republic
Dr. Soledad Quartucci is the founder and CEO of Latina Republic, a 501(C)3 California-based nonprofit organization. Latina Republic is committed to improving the diversity and professional development of storytellers in the media industry as representation matters and affects the stories we tell. Latina Republic makes space for and empowers unheard voices and trains the next generation of leaders in the U.S.