The British government is providing $6.5 million to Mexico to bolster bilateral efforts to promote scientific innovation, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said.

Britain and Mexico share "a history of very positive relations, a long and very strong friendship," Clegg said Tuesday, the first day of his two-day visit to Mexico City.

About 2,000 Mexicans are studying at British universities, the deputy prime minister said.

"What we are seeking via the 'Knowledge Is Great' campaign is to increase that number to 2,500," Clegg said.

Britain expects its grant to be matched by Mexico to promote scientific innovation, the deputy prime minister said.

The funds will help "create the relations, the exchanges, the research projects, the initiatives to really expand and strengthen our cooperation in the field of scientific innovation," Clegg said.

Bilateral trade has increased in the past few years, but British exports to Mexico still account for less than 1 percent of the total, Clegg said. EFE