Princess Astrid, the sister of King Philippe of Belgium, left for Mexico on the 16th February to lead a trade delegation to boost trade links between the two countries. Her party will consist of federal and regional politicians, together with just over two hundred business leaders. The keenness of Belgium to boost the links between the two countries can be seen by the fact that the last trade delegation, led by King Philippe when he was a Prince while he and Princess Astrid’s father, King Albert II was on the throne, some ten years ago only had 80 – 90 business leaders.
The party will visit both the capital, Mexico City where they will be received by the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In a busy agenda, they will also meet Chief of the Metropolitan Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, and with the Governor of Nuevo León, Jaime Rodríguez. After meetings in Mexico City, the party will conclude their visit to Mexico by visiting the northern city of Monterrey before returning to Belgium on the 23rd of February. This will be the second foreign visit to Mexico this year after the President welcomed the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón at the end of January.
The Belgian government have been keen to stress the current close ties between the two countries that it is hoped this trade visit will build on. Anheuser Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewing company which has its head office in Leuven in Belgium, also has offices in Mexico City as well as Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Obviously, one area that may have to be handled delicately by the Princess is comments regarding the current stand-off in relations between Mexico and the United States, and indeed a potential trade war between the United States and the European community. We have seen in this country recently how actions can have a detrimental impact on the delicate diplomacy of trade delegations.