EU, Mexico near free trade deal
The new agreement would replace the old one, signed some 20 years ago
13 May, 2017
Mexico and the EU are expected to wrap up negotiations for a new free trade agreement by end of 2017, officials announced. In a joint press conference in Mexico City last Monday, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said both sides were committed to reaching a new deal, which would replace the current one signed some 20 years ago.
According to Malmstrom, the two sides have “agreed to accelerate the pace of negotiations even further.” “Both sides are committed to concluding these negotiations before the end of the year. This is an ambitious but feasible goal,” she said. Referring to the anti-trade sentiment in some countries, Malmstrom pointed out that “we want to send a clear signal to the world about the importance of strengthening, not weakening, the rules that govern international trade.”
For his part, Guajardo said the new agreement aims to expand bilateral trade and access to markets when countries like the US are turning to protectionism. Strengthening economic and trade exchanges with existing trade partners and diversifying global trade ties are a priority for Mexico, said Guajardo.
The new deal will simplify red tape procedures to boost growth and competitiveness, enrich consumers' choices and create jobs on both sides. The next round of talks is set to be held in late June in Mexico. Then, during the second half of the year, negotiators will meet every month. Once the negotiations are concluded, the agreement will be submitted to lawmakers of both sides for approval.
The new deal aims at simplifying administrative burden, cut red tape, boost growth and competitiveness, widen consumer choice and create jobs on both sides. Since the existing agreement took effect in 2000, bilateral trade tripled from $20.8bn to $61.7bn in 2016.
During her visit to Mexico, Commissioner Malmstrom also met businesses, civil society organisations and trade unions, and visited a large factory of beer producer Heineken. Last Tuesday, she spoke at a business event in Mexico City, and separately to students at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), about the advantages of a new, state-of-the-art trade agreement between the EU and Mexico.