Xi Jinping in Mexico
China's President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan visited the ruins of Chichén Itzá after their meeting in Mexico City Reuters

Xi Jinping’s visit to Mexico marked the start of a new stage in China-Latin America bilateral trade. The Chinese head of state and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed several agreements and toasted with tequila to a more fruitful and collaborative relationship.

The visit was a first for president Xi, and it was greeted with much expectation by Mexican media. Daily newspaper Excelsior’s director José Carreño said that he was “looking forward to his speech. We all want to know what signal President Xi is sending to Mexico.”

Reforma, a newspaper based in Mexico City, noted that Xi’s visit shows the desire of both countries’ to strengthen bilateral ties. “This visit will definitely inject new energy into the strategic partnership between the two countries,” wrote reporter Ulises Días.

Xi met up with Peña Nieto on Tuesday, and left the capital on Thursday morning for Yucatán, where he visited the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá before leaving the country for the U.S. After the toast was finalized, the media broke into analysis of what this newly found friendship might mean for Mexico’s economy.

El Economista opened by saying that the visit is a “great opportunity for stronger ties, increase trade and diversify Mexican exports and businesses.” Economist Alfredo Jalife-Rahme told the publication that Mexico has excellent relations with the U.S., but “it is obvious that we need to start thinking about building bridges to other countries.” Professor Isabel Studer Noguez said that this visit will be the perfect opportunity to sharpen the country’s vague policies toward China. “Here in Mexico we complain a lot that we have lost competitiveness to China, but we have never gotten around to drafting a direct policy in that direction,” she said.

Red Política, a website dedicated to Mexican politics, stated that China is a “key factor in the world’s balance,” and that this visit was the climax of four decades of irregular diplomatic relationship between both countries.

Among the more cautious voices was Adolfo Laborde, the director of the International Relations department at the Technical Institute of Monterrey, who wrote for CNN Mexico that the country has never been able to go from negotiation to execution in its plans to level trade with Asia. “China is our main partner in Asia, and we have a deficit of $9.3 billion. The opportunity to improve is within reach, but we cannot stop at declarations.”

According to the scholar, the major problem Mexico has to fight to level its offer to that of Asian countries is human capital. “We are behind in forming and educating our resources, both in the government and in private businesses, something [Asian countries] started doing two or three decades ago.”

Ricardo Gómez and Horacio Jiménez at El Universal reported that the development of Mexico would be good news for China. “Looking at the other’s development will be an opportunity for each country to progress, and cooperation can nurture their advances, which will translate to common development,” they said.

President Xi will leave Mexico on Friday for the U.S., where he will meet President Barack Obama.