Last updated in October 2018
Alexander von Humboldt’s report on his trip to Mexico back in 1803/04 heralded the start of Germany’s fascination with Mexico, which remains undiminished to this day. Conversely, Germany has traditionally been held in high regard in Mexico.
The two countries enjoy very sound relations that date back to 1831. The first meeting of the German-Mexican Binational Commission was held in 2015. Topics discussed included politics, sustainable development, the environment and climate change, science, research and innovation, business and energy as well as culture and education. The aim of the Commission is to steadily strengthen German-Mexican relations. A second meeting took place in Mexico in May 2017. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto came to Germany on a state visit from 11 to 12 April 2016. During the visit, 13 agreements were signed on a range of topics including energy, the climate and anti-corruption. In preparation for the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to Mexico from 9 to 10 June 2017.
From June 2016 to June 2017, both Mexico and Germany organised an elaborate series of events to showcase their respective countries. President Peña Nieto opened the Year of Mexico in Germany in April 2016, while in Mexico City on 6 June 2016, Germany’s then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the Year of Germany in Mexico. This encompassed more than 1400 individual events in the areas of science, business, sustainability as well as art and culture. In June 2017, Federal Chancellor Merkel and President Peña Nieto both attended a special ceremony to mark the end of the Year of Germany.
In April 2018, Federal Chancellor Merkel and President Peña Nieto opened the Hannover Messe together, where Mexico was the first Latin American Partner Country.
Germany is regarded as an important partner in Europe, of whom strong economic, political and cultural engagement in Mexico is expected, as is close cooperation at multilateral level. High-level visits are also a frequent occurrence, including visits by business delegations from the German federal states. This exchange is creating ever closer ties between the two countries. There are town twinning arrangements between Berlin and Mexico City and a partnership agreement between the federal states of Bavaria and Jalisco. A partnership has also been established between Rhineland-Palatinate and Aguascalientes.
The two countries’ Foreign Ministers meet frequently for consultations on bilateral and multilateral issues.
Economic relations between Germany and Mexico are very dynamic and are shaped in particular by Germany’s already substantial – and still growing – investment in Mexico.
In 2017, bilateral trade amounted to around 23 billion US dollars. Bilateral trade focuses mainly on the automotive sector as well as the chemical, pharmaceutical and electronics industries. Germany is Mexico’s most important trading partner in the European Union.
More than 1900 companies with German investors are registered with the Mexican Ministry of Economy, most of them in the automotive and automotive supply sectors or the pharmaceutical, chemical and logistics industries. According to estimates by the Mexican-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CAMEXA), German companies’ aggregate investment totals more than 35 billion US dollars.
German development cooperation with Mexico aims to support the country in the implementation of its ambitious development strategies in the priority areas of sustainable energy (renewable energy/energy efficiency) and environmental policy and natural resource conservation (urban and industrial environmental protection and biodiversity preservation), while also helping to strengthen its influence regionally in these areas. By directly supporting the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and through triangular cooperation arrangements, German development cooperation is helping Mexico to strengthen its role as a development partner for third countries in the region. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and AMEXCID set up a fund financed in equal parts by them, from which individual projects aimed at supporting reforms in the spheres of good governance, the rule of law and human rights are funded. The political participation of NGOs is being fostered by an initiative to strengthen civil society.
As part of its International Climate Initiative (IKI), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is funding bilateral and multi-country projects with the Mexican Government, including the German-Mexican Climate Change Alliance. Through CAMEXA, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Germany is also helping the Mexican Government to introduce and implement a Mexican dual vocational training model, which is a top priority for the Mexican Government and the business associations involved. The dialogue between Germany and Mexico on development and environmental policy is conducted in a spirit of partnership thanks to the very good relations between the two countries.
Culture and education
Mexico is a priority country for German cultural relations and education policy and all Germany’s major cultural organisations are active in the country.
There are several publicly funded German international schools in Mexico – three in Mexico City and one each in Puebla and Guadalajara. The schools in Mexico City and the one in Puebla prepare students for the German higher education entrance qualification (Abitur), while the one in Guadalajara offers the International Baccalaureate. All in all, the schools are attended by approximately 6000 students.
There are also schools in Mexico City, Puebla and Cuauhtémoc that offer instruction leading to the German Language Certificate (DSD). In addition, five Mexican schools across the country are Goethe-Institut partner schools under the Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH). There is great demand for German as a foreign language, with some 75,000 people currently learning German in Mexico.
The Goethe-Institut (GI) plays a prominent role in cultural cooperation. Founded in 1966, the GI in Mexico City is engaged in intensive language work (with some 7800 people currently attending its courses and sitting exams each year) and also organises a high-quality, modern cultural programme. In addition, there are German cultural centres in Monterrey and San Luis Potosí.
The Cultural Affairs Foundation of German Business in Mexico City is funded by well-known German companies. In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, the Foundation uses its resources to organise high-profile cultural projects that have a broad-based impact. There is another Cultural Affairs Foundation of German Business in San Luis Potosí that supports the local cultural centre in implementing projects.
Since 2001, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has maintained a branch office in Mexico City – one of 15 such offices worldwide. The DAAD provides four lectors and several long and short-term lecturers to support the diverse activities of the dynamic and thriving higher education sector in Mexico. In addition to providing student advice services and awarding scholarships, the DAAD works closely with Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), alumni associations and other Mexican partners. There are approximately 2800 Mexicans studying in Germany.
The over 360 cooperation agreements between German and Mexican universities put Mexico in 29th place in the rankings of international partnerships with German higher education institutions. Further impetus for cooperation is provided by the Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt Special Chair, which was established at El Colegio de México in 1998, and the Club Alexander von Humboldt de México, an alumni association comprised of former Humboldt Fellows.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.