Already, that partnership has helped to increase "mutual knowledge," but "we can inject greater dynamism into our dialogue on matters such as the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, combating climate change and immigration," said Pena Nieto.
"Those should be our priorities in the lead up to the 2nd ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum," to be held in Santiago, Chile in January next year, said the president.
"In Mexico, we recognize China's interest in continuing to strengthen ties with Latin America, and the China-CELAC Forum as one of the most important existing mechanisms for cooperation," said Pena Nieto.
To underscore the partnership's potential and achievements so far, at the coming gathering Mexico "will promote a review of what we have accomplished under the 2015-2019 Cooperation Plan, as well as a review of the outcome of the forums held in 2016," said Pena Nieto.
The plan promotes cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure and transport, energy and natural resources, agriculture, education and other areas.
Thanks to a China-CELAC fund, "there are projects that receive financing from China earmarked to strengthen cooperation and development," noted Pena Nieto.
As of January 2017, 48 joint projects worth some 18.7 billion U.S. dollars have been approved, he said, and nearly 2,000 officials, technicians and students from 31 Latin American countries have received scholarships to study or train in China.
Through China-CELAC, "we have organized forums with officials, business leaders, academics, political parties and civic groups to assess progress, share best practices and identify areas of opportunity," said Pena Nieto.
BELT & ROAD OPPORTUNITIES
China's larger development push, the Belt and Road initiative, stands to boost not just cooperation, but also trade, tourism and cultural exchange between different parts of the globe, according to Pena Nieto.
Xi proposed the initiative in 2013, which includes building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Over 100 countries and international organizations have expressed support for or participated in the initiative, and investment from the Silk Road Fund has amounted to more than 4 billion dollars.
"Mexico welcomes all initiatives oriented towards greater opening up and bridge-building between countries, as well as projects designed to complement national, regional and multilateral efforts in cooperation and development," Pena Nieto said.
Pena Nieto said he recognized the value of bolstering infrastructure, a goal he has pursued nationally, since "it allows us to consolidate ourselves as a platform that facilitates connectivity in the Americas."
Mexico is also "committed to free trade," a leading Belt and Road objective, as it "generates more better quality jobs, competitiveness and opportunities, especially for small and medium-size companies."
"Diversifying our foreign trade is one of the pillars of our trade policy," he said.
As "one of the most dynamic (economies) in the world," China is a coveted trade partner, said Pena Nieto, which is why in 2013, Mexico entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership with the Asian giant.
"That allows us to bolster our trade and investment ties, and to jointly construct laws that generate certainty and confidence for doing business," said the president.
Mexico has also launched structural reforms to promote foreign investment in key industries, he said.
High-level Mexico-China business and investment groups, in which the private sector plays a major role, "offer a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship between entrepreneurs from both countries," noted the president.
"Through them, we secure our bilateral ties and strengthen the diversification of our export sector," added Pena Nieto.