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Mexican president begins 6-day trip to Europe to lure investment, boost ties

Mexican president begins 6-day trip to Europe to lure investment, boost ties

President Felipe Calderon on Wednesday began a six-day tour of Europe, where he planned to meet with global heavyweights at the World Economic Forum and encourage foreign investment in Mexico.
Calderon planned to stop first in Berlin to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of Germany's automotive industry before heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mexico has become a leading automotive manufacturer.
At the forum, the conservative leader plans to meet with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and top executives from Pepsico and Nestle, among others. He also will hold talks with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the World Trade Organization's director-general, Pascal Lamy.
Calderon will then meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, and President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos in Madrid.
The trip is Calderon's first to Europe since he took office Dec. 1.
Foreign Relations Undersecretary Lourdes Aranda said this week that Calderon will tout his government's recent crackdown on organized crime, arguing it has created "a more stable and secure environment for attracting investment."
U.S. President George W. Bush spoke with Calderon by phone Wednesday to commend Mexico on its efforts to restore law and order and combat drug trafficking and its related violence, said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
The two presidents also briefly discussed immigration and Bush reaffirmed his commitment to comprehensive reform.
Calderon has stepped up Mexico's battle against warring drug smugglers, sending 17,000 troops to top drug states and extraditing kingpins to the United States, including reputed Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas.
Drug violence killed more than 2,000 Mexicans last year. Drug gangs fighting over lucrative routes to the United States have resorted to gruesome tactics, including beheadings.
Executives have also complained about a rash of kidnappings in Tijuana. Calderon has sent more than 3,000 troops to the border city and stripped police of their guns amid allegations officers were protecting smugglers.
Calderon, who narrowly won the July election, has painted himself as the "jobs president," vowing to boost foreign investment to create employment opportunities and keep Mexicans from heading to the United States to seek work.
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Associated Press Writer E. Eduardo Castillo contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-03 03:18 GMT+08:00