Mexican Economy Secretary Bruno Ferrari said in an interview with Efe that the current economic situation was not like that in 2009, when Mexico's economy contracted by 6.5 percent, but the government should remain "cautious."

"We have to be very cautious. What could happen now, I see it as remotely possible or very far from looking like the global crisis we already went through, the biggest since the 1920s," Ferrari told Efe last week during the inauguration of the Expo Mexico Emprende trade fair at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"Mexico emerged from that crisis in a very short time. Now, there are serious circumstances, but we don't see that it could even look like the crisis we already dealt with and from which we have already recovered the jobs lost," Ferrari said, adding that he was optimistic about the country's economic prospects.

"The key for Mexico to now be (considered) an opportunity in the world lies in the responsible management of our public finances," Ferrari said.

"If the global economy goes down, the Mexican (economy) has to do so. And if the American economy goes down, it is also very linked to ours," the economy secretary said.

Mexico has gone from accounting for 9 percent of U.S. imports to representing 12.7 percent, Ferrari said.

"The United States is the largest and most important market, and Mexico's position is important. I do not see the current situation as a crisis, but as a great opportunity," the economy secretary said, referring to Latin America's "competitiveness" thanks to the Pacific Alliance with Colombia, Perú and Chile.

One of the projects unveiled at Expo Mexico Emprende was the Fondo Migrante, an effort to channel some of the remittances sent home by Mexicans living abroad into business investment.

Mexicans living and working in the United States sent $21.2 billion home in 2010.

"We realize that with these events, Mexicans on this side of the border not only have more possibilities for sending resources to their country, but they can also channel them via businesses they can set up in Mexico with their families," Ferrari said.

The growth of the domestic market must "continue to be appetizing" and purchasing power must "continue growing" to make this effort successful, the economy secretary said.

These are loans "at very long terms" that will help "multiply" the money as long as the resources are destined for businesses based in Mexico, Ferrari said, adding that women were expected to play an important role in business.

"Many immigrants come alone and their women stay in Mexico. Now, they can be businesswomen, become enterprising via these resources," Ferrari said.

Mexico has moved past the $100 billion mark in foreign investment, the economy secretary said.

"I know that President (Felipe) Calderon will make an announcement in that regard," Ferrari said.

"It is very important to have crossed that level. In the middle of the world crisis, Mexico has become one of the most important countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment. The investment has not been falling despite these problems, and that is why it's a time of opportunity and of employment creation," the economy secretary said.

Mexico's unemployment rate is hovering around 5 percent, Ferrari said.

"It's a high percentage. We have created many jobs, but it's still not enough and we are carrying out numerous programs" to boost employment, the economy secretary said.

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