Steinmeier in Mexico on state-election day
Mexico and Germany have strong relations and cooperate across a range of issues, from climate change weapons control to tourism and culture.
Steinmeier has also called for cross-border cooperation to combat crime and deal with the migration crisis in the Central American region.
On a visit to a home for refugees in Mexico City on Saturday, Steinmeier said "a great joint effort" was needed in the region to deal with the migration crisis. "Many people here are plainly and simply fleeing violence in their home countries," he said.
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR estimates that there will be up to 400,000 refugees in Mexico this year. Most of them have come from Mexico's southern neighbors, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador where organized crime has increased dramatically in recent years.
"Mexico is a major center of investment for the German economy in the region, not to mention a vital center of production for the German automobile industry," according to the German Information Center for Latin America and Spain, a body tied to the foreign ministry.
German automakers Audi, BMW and Volkswagen have invested heavily in Mexico to the point that more cars are manufactured there than in France, Italy and the UK combined, according to a study by the consulting group Roland Berger.
Audi will soon operate a new plant in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla, to produce a new generation Q5, and from 2019 BMW will be manufacturing cars in Luis Potosi. Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and other automotive manufacturers already produce their vehicles in Mexico.
More than 1,200 German firms operate in Mexico, creating 120,000 jobs.
A delegation from the German parliament is also accompanying Steinmier. On Monday, a concert by the German and Mexican youth philharmonic orchestras will officially kick off the "Year of Mexico and German," an effort to strengthen cultural, educational, scientific, economic, tourism and scientific relations.
State and capital votes
Also on Sunday, more than 37 million Mexicans were registered to vote for 1,819 state officials, including the governors for twelve states.
President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) currently controls nine of the states where polls are taking place, but the vote is being seen as a test of his handling of the country's economy and its corruption problems.
Of the states with the highest levels of organized crime, the PRI strongholds of Veracruz and Tamaulipas look set to be the closest races. The PRI has never lost an election for governor in either state.
There have been accusations of collusion between public servants and criminal networks as well as between the armed forces aand organized crime. Home to both the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, Tamaulipas has the worst rate of reported kidnappings in Mexico.
There are estimates that 100,000 people are kidnapped each year in Mexico but only a tiny percentage of the cases are reported. The most recently reported case in the state was of international footballer Alan Pulido.
The campaign in Veracruz, a state known as a base for the Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, has been referred to by local media as the worst ever, with accusations between candidates of vote-buying and pedophilia.
cw/jm (dpa, EFE)