India and Mexico are planning to set up a CEO Forum of top businesses to coincide with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s proposed visit to India next year.

While the initiative to bring the industry closer follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mexico last year, US President Donald Trump’s decision to cold shoulder its long-term ally and neighbour may have speeded up things, a government official told BusinessLine .

“A meeting between Commerce & Industry Ministry officials and trade diplomats from the Mexican Embassy is scheduled this week on promoting exchanges between the business communities. Details on the proposed CEO Forum is likely to be discussed," the official said.

Mexico, which is looking at intensifying its economic partnership with big markets such as China and India following the cooling of relations with the US, believes that bilateral trade with India could touch $10 billion in the next five years from $6.41 billion at present with the right kind of policy push.

US impact

India, too, is eager to have closer business relations with the country which could be an alternative destination for Indian IT companies located in the US if the country stiffens its visa rules further. Top companies such as TCS and Infosys already have operations in Mexico.

When Modi met Nieto in Mexico last year, both underscored that trade and investment relations could develop to its full potential only through increased exchanges between people of the two nations. “A CEO Forum, through its regular meetings, could not only identify and work on areas of cooperation but also point out to both governments the irritants that need to be ironed out,” the official said.

In the joint communiqué released by Modi and Nieto after their meeting last year, the two stressed on encouraging cooperation in the infrastructure sector, among small and medium enterprises, in pharmaceutical products, in energy, in the automobile sector, in information and communication technology, in agriculture, in food processing and in other related sectors.

India also wants both countries to liberalise visa norms for easier movement of people including professionals which will give a boost to trade, investment and tourism. “Once the CEO Forum is in place more details on the areas of cooperation could be worked out. We hope to come up with names of corporates who could be part of the Forum in the next few months,” the official said. A bilateral High Level Group on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation already exists between the two countries but it has not met often since its inception in 2007.