Mexico and EU finalize new free-trade agreement

Mexico and the European Union have wrapped up four years of negotiation with a new free-trade agreement that will make virtually all trade in goods between the EU and Mexico duty-free.

Graciela Márquez, Mexico’s economy minister and EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan finalized the last details of the update to the 19-year-old pact in a call on Tuesday.

“With this, the EU and Mexico can advance to the signature and ratification of this agreement,” the EU said in a statement. “While most of our efforts have been focused lately on tackling the coronavirus crisis, we have also been working to advance our open and fair trade agenda, which continues to be very important,” Mr. Hogan said in the statement. “Openness, partnerships, and cooperation will be even more essential as we rebuild our economies after this pandemic.”

Graciela Márquez, Mexico’s economy minister (Archive)

The deal includes measures to fight corruption and money laundering as well as investment protection, sustainable development in line with the Paris climate accord and simpler customs rules to boost exports. Mexico is the EU’s top Latin American trade partner with bilateral trade in goods worth €66bn and trade in services worth another €19bn.

The EU is Mexico’s third-biggest trading partner and EU nations have invested $180bn in Mexico, according to its economy ministry. EU-Mexico trade in goods has more than tripled since the entry into force of the original agreement in 2001.

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the coronavirus would be temporary in Mexico and is betting on the entry into force of the updated USMCA free-trade pact with the US and Canada in July to help businesses bounce back after the pandemic.

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Source: Financial Times

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