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Visit to Mexico and APEC in Peru.



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Mr Smith’s Office: Adam Siddique 02 6277 7500 or 0407 473 630 Departmental: (02) 6261 1555

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Minister for Foreign Affairs

M E D I A R E L E A S E

FA166 17 November 2008

VISIT TO MEXICO AND APEC IN PERU

This morning I will depart Australia to visit Mexico and Peru from Tuesday 18 November to Thursday 20 November.

This will be my first visit to Latin America as Foreign Minister and reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to engage more actively with Latin America in general.

Mexico is Australia’s second-largest trading partner in Latin America and an influential and constructive member of a number of global institutions. It will be the first visit to Mexico by a member of the Rudd Government.

In Mexico City on Tuesday, I will meet Foreign Minister Espinosa Cantellano to discuss options for enhancing our bilateral relationship and opportunities for future cooperation on important international issues, including climate change and UN reform.

I will also meet Education Minister Vázquez Mota to progress initiatives designed to strengthen education links between our two countries.

During my visit I will also have an opportunity to meet a number of senior Mexican business figures, to discuss trade, industry and investment issues.

I will visit Lima, Peru from 19-20 Nov to attend the 20th annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting.

A key objective for Australia at the Ministerial meeting will be working to ensure that APEC continues to strengthen the capacity of communities, businesses and governments in the Asia-Pacific.

In Lima I will also undertake a range of bilateral meetings with counterparts from other APEC economies.

I will use these meeting to pursue a range of Australia’s bilateral and regional foreign policy interests including the international financial crisis, climate change cooperation, and regional architecture.

In addition, I will take the opportunity to meet for the first time with new Ministerial colleagues, including from Canada and Thailand.

APEC is an important forum that advances Australia’s and our region’s prosperity and security.

Australia is strongly committed to APEC - its 21 member economies are home to more than 2.7 billion people and represent approximately half of both the world’s GDP and trade.