President Michael D Higgins has invited his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto to Dublin as he looks to develop economic ties between the two countries.

The Irish President issued the invitation during a 12 day trip to Latin America designed to boost the country’s $1.5billion trade with the region.

He described Mexico as a ‘key global partner for Ireland now and in the future’ at a meeting in Mexico’s national palace.

The Irish Times reports that President Higgins told Nieto that he looks forward to Ireland extending business ties with Mexico and a long-standing cultural relationship.

In response, the Mexican President referred to Ireland as a ‘gateway for trade’ and acknowledged the invite to visit next year on the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The report adds that President Higgins said in his speech that he was ‘very struck by the energy and dynamism’ in Mexico. He said he admired its ambitions for sustainable development and economic growth while ‘prioritising social inclusion’.

The president also laid a wreath at the Altar of the Nation in Chapultepec Park in Mexico City commemorating the spot where teenage Mexican soldiers jumped to their deaths in 1847 rather than surrender in the Mexican-American war.

The two presidents witnessed the signing of a joint agreement by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Trade Joe Costello and Mexican foreign minister Jose Antonio Meade setting out how Ireland and Mexico will develop partnerships between Irish and Mexican companies and universities.

Higgins told the Irish Times that the pair discussed developments in Europe and the international economic situation.

He said: “Ireland’s economic recovery is supported by the country’s attractiveness to investment.
“Ireland, though affected severely by the recession that hit parts of the world, is now emerging from the worst of the crisis.

“We are set on a course of sustainable growth, based on a real economic performance, which actively addresses the European wide problem of unemployment.

“I recognise that Ireland’s future lies in ensuring that our economy is built on a sustainable model, nurturing talented and highly educated people.

“This will also involve creating quality goods and services, innovating and connecting to global partners, customers and investors in enduring ways, and pursuing all of those objectives at home and abroad in an inclusive way.”

President Higgins added that Ireland had much to learn from ‘new discourses’ emerging from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, which are ‘rich in possibilities for new paradigms of thought, policy initiatives and ethnical responses to the challenges facing our shared vulnerable planet.’