EU and Mexico make further progress on FTA update talks

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Mexico and the EU are making progress towards updating their existing free trade agreement, although further progress needs to be made.

Representatives from the EU and Mexico have reported positive progress in their joint efforts to update their existing free trade agreement (FTA) to better reflect the growing economic relationship between the regions.

The ninth round of talks over the revised FTA recently came to a conclusion in Mexico City, with five new chapters agreed and important progress made on a number of others. These issues included technical barriers to trade, state-owned enterprises, subsidies, anti-corruption, and trade in services.

Mexico was the first country in Latin America to sign an economic partnership, coordination and cooperation agreement with the EU in 1997, which was subsequently developed into a comprehensive FTA in 2000. Since then, trade between Mexico and the EU has tripled, increasing from $20.8 billion a year to $61.7 billion (from €16.9 billion to €50.1 billion).

Negotiations to update the agreement commenced in May 2016, with Mexico's government previously expressing hope that the process could be finalized this month. That prospect no longer appears to be feasible, but both sides are committed to bringing the discussions to a successful conclusion.

A statement from the Mexican economy ministry said: "We are close to achieving consensus mainly on specific topics in the chapters of trade in goods, rules of origin and intellectual property."

The importance of updating the EU-Mexico FTA has increased in recent months due to Mexico's strained relationship with the US, its largest foreign investor. The next round of talks between the US, Mexico and Canada over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is also set to take place this week, with the collapse of the deal still a  possibility.