President-elect Alberto Fernández and his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday agreed to work together to strengthen bilateral ties, as the two heads of state met in Mexico City.
It is the Argentine leader's first foreign trip since winning the October 27 elections.
Fernández, who was due to hold a press conference alongside the Mexican leader later this evening, was hosted at the National Palace in the Mexican capital for talks on relaunching their relationship and boosting commercial relations. Argentina's trade deficit with Mexico is US$900 million, according to Noticias Argentinas, which reported that the Peronist leader is keen to boost exports of Argentine meat and automobile parts to Mexico.
Fernández hopes to solidify the political link with Mexico, especially given recent confrontations with President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, one of Argentina’s largest commercial partners. Bolsonaro has said he’s sceptical of a government under Fernández and has threatened potential Mercosur sanctions or suspension.
Fernández arrived in Mexico on Saturday, visiting the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City on Sunday. Speaking afterwards, he said via a statement that he prayed for his country and the rest of the region.
“Whenever I come to Mexico, I come to visit the Virgin, she is the patron of Latin America. I asked her to help us in Argentina, for one Latin America and for equality among our poor,” he said in a brief statement.
Among the travelling party with the president-elect is two key economic advisors, Matías Kulfas and Cecelia Todesca, and Felipe Solá, overseeing foreign policy.
López Obrador agreed to "help" Argentina confront its current economic crisis and to "improve economic and commercial relations" between the two countries, according to reports.
At his morning press conference earlier in the day, López Obrador said that "Argentina is going to get ahead," describing it as "a great country that has a lot of potential and with many natural resources."
"We, as far as we can, are going to try to help in the acquisition of goods that are produced in Argentina so that the people, with their new government, can face up to the economic crisis and there can be growth and wellbeing," López Obrador added.
On Monday night, Fernández will attend a dinner with important business leaders in Mexico, including the president of Telmex, Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world.
On Tuesday, Fernandez will give a keynote lecture titled “The Challenges of Latin America” in the Antiguo Colegio de San Illdefonso.
AMLO, as the Mexican president is more commonly known, called Fernández to congratulate him on his victory, as he did with the re-elected president of Bolivia, Evo Morales.
“Congratulations” to Fernández and Morales “who have triumphed in the free and democratic elections in their countries,” the president wrote on Twitter on October 28.