The governments of Germany and Mexico are studying the creation of a "joint fund" for developing "strategic projects" together, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Juan Antonio Meade said Saturday.

"We're reviewing together with the German government and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (Amecid) the creation of a joint fund...for the development of strategic projects," Meade said.

At a press conference together with his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, the Mexican Cabinet secretary said that in recent years the process of bilateral cooperation "has been intense and fruitful" but he believes there are many more possibilities for expanding it.

He mentioned an upcoming project with Germany "to promote collaboration in the educational and cultural spheres; in particular, to continue working to know and apply in Mexico their successful dual education program that links high school education with industry."

Meade also noted that Germany "is Mexico's leading trade partner in Europe" and the fifth worldwide, with a total trade volume of more than $18 billion in 2012.

He also spoke of German investments in this country, which are principally channeled through some 1,500 German companies operating in Mexico.

For his part, the German foreign minister said on his third visit to Mexico that his nation wanted to "deepen even more" cooperation and relations with this country.

Westerwelle said that Meade brought him up to date on how the structural reforms are going that are being promoted by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who this Saturday has been six months in power.

The German minister also expressed interest in Mexico's plans for an energy sector overhaul, one of the crucial steps for strengthening the nation's economic development by creating new opportunities for foreign investors to participate in Mexico's oil industry, and which will be debated in the second half of 2013.

State-owned energy company Petroleos Mexicanos currently has a monopoly on oil exploration, production and refining in Mexico.

As a closing remark, Westerwelle hailed the excellent relations between the two countries and said that Mexico "has become an indispensable partner" for his country, not just in bilateral matters but also in multilateral forums on subjects like climate change and combating arms trafficking. EFE