It is a great pleasure for the Crown Princess and me to join you all at this lunch and to see so many present here today; around 450 Mexican and Danish representatives of government, organisations and enterprises.
Since arriving in Mexico Sunday evening, we have been touched by the warm hospitality. This hospitality illustrates not only, the warmth of the Mexican people, but also the very good relationship between our two countries that over the years has developed in many areas: Politically, culturally and commercially.
Politically – Mexico and Denmark join together and lead global agendas on issues, such as; climate change, rule of law and regulation of international trade in weapons. And between our countries we have established official collaboration in the areas of healthcare and energy.
Yesterday, our Ministers for Health signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the collaboration on healthcare. And before the end of the year, an ambitious collaboration on energy efficiency and emissions reductions is expected to be approved by the Danish Parliament.
Culturally, there are frequent exchanges of arts and music between our two countries. At present ARKEN, one of Denmark’s museums of modern art, is home to ‘Frida Kahlo – a life in art’ exhibition which is proving very popular. And each year, a number of Mexican and Danish exchange students learn about the richness of cultural diversity and the different ways we organise our societies.
Commercially, we have also strengthened our ties: Around 45 Danish companies have established themselves in Mexico with subsidiaries, and many more with local partners or distributors. Danish export to Mexico has nearly doubled over the last 10 years and so has Mexican export to Denmark. Denmark is actually among the largest European investors in Mexico.
So, it is clear we have a solid foundation which we can continue to grow and develop to the mutual benefit of both our countries.
The Government of Denmark is actively supporting this. When the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Villy Søvndal, visited Mexico in May this year, he launched the Danish Government's growth strategy for strengthening our commercial ties with Mexico.
In short, the ambition is to see more Danish companies in Mexico, and more Mexican business activity in Denmark. We need Mexico to find Denmark on the World map, and we need more Danish companies to see the benefits of collaborating with Mexico.
The Danish companies present here today cover a broad range of sectors, but common for all of them, is their technological know-how and high level of competency.
Denmark has a lot to offer when it comes to healthcare solutions, agroindustry, food technology, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly technology. I am sure you have already seen several examples of this during the business seminars this morning.
The size, shape and reality of our economies vary. And because of that, we can learn much from each other and create new jobs and sustainable growth for both of our countries.
Within the health care sector, I am sure that tomorrow's healthcare innovation roundtable, together with the visit to the ABC Hospital will provide an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and identify concrete activities behind the newly signed memorandum of understanding.
On the energy side, our resource scarcity in Denmark has taught us to be creative, efficient and long-term focused.
In the 70’s, Denmark went from being 99 percent energy importers to being 100 percent self-sufficient on oil and gas. Today, Denmark is an energy exporting nation, and 28 percent of our electricity comes from wind and from the conversion of waste to energy. It is our plan to be 100 percent independent from fossil fuels by 2050.
I am certain that tomorrow's meetings with key Mexican actors within the energy sector will unveil concrete areas of cooperation and business.
From our long agricultural tradition, Danish companies have developed products, services and technologies throughout the entire food production value-chain. This remains Denmark’s leading export sector.
I hope that these Danish-Mexican business days will see constructive and beneficial meetings and discussions for all of you.
Allow me to propose a toast to the strengthening of existing commercial ties and the creation of new ones between Denmark and Mexico.