EFEMexico City

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff hailed the signing of a series of accords in areas including trade, tourism and the environment, saying they will strengthen cooperation between the two Latin American powerhouses.

"Relations with Brazil date back many years. However, we found ourselves needing to update and modernize our cooperation framework," Peña Nieto told reporters here Tuesday.

With these agreements, Brazil and Mexico, Latin America's biggest and second-biggest economies, "have taken a qualitative leap" in their relations, the Mexican president said.

"We've opened a new chapter in our history. Relations between Mexico and Brazil have a great degree of potential and we have the obligation and duty to study this," Rousseff, who is making the first visit to Mexico of her presidency, said.

Above all, the presidents stressed their willingness to give a big boost to bilateral trade, which was valued at $9.2 billion in 2014.

"We want to go from the $9.2 billion that we have now in trade and eventually, in less than 10 years, be able to double this level," Peña Nieto said.

This will be possible after an agreement was reached Tuesday to deepen the Economic Complementation Agreement, known as ACE 53, linking Mexico and Brazil.

Negotiations to modify this accord, which was signed in 2002 and currently covers some 800 products, but could be expanded to encompass up to 6,000 products, will kick off in July, Rousseff said.

The agreement will be expanded to cover new segments such as services, e-commerce and intellectual property, Peña Nieto added.

In March of this year, the two countries also agreed to modify their existing agreement, known as ACE 55, governing the exchange of goods in the automotive sector, eliminating tariffs on a significant number of additional products.

Both companies see freer bilateral trade as a way to promote economic expansion and maintain their positions as regional powers despite adverse conditions in Latin America, which the International Monetary Fund expects will grow less than 1 percent this year.