The European Union and Mexico have announced their intentions to come to an agreement over a new free trade deal before the end of 2017.
EU commissioner for trade Cecilia visited Mexico City this week to meet with Mexican foreign minister Louis Videgaray and economic minister Ildefonso Guajardo for negotiations on the new free trade agreement (FTA), which would be designed to replace the existing deal signed around 20 years ago.
Since the old agreement entered into force in 2000, trade volumes between the EU and Mexico have tripled, but both parties are adamant that a revised FTA would deliver even more pronounced benefits.
In February, the EU and Mexico jointly agreed to significantly accelerate the pace of negotiations to reach a deal sooner. The latest formal negotiating round took place in April, with a fourth round of talks scheduled to run from June 26th to 30th in Mexico. During the second half of the year, negotiators will meet every month.
Ms Malmstrom said: "Both sides are committed to concluding these negotiations before the end of the year. This is an ambitious but feasible goal. We want to send a clear signal to the world about the importance of strengthening - not weakening - the rules that govern international trade."
She added: "We have also agreed to accelerate the pace of negotiations even further, increasing the frequency of our negotiators' meetings."
The new deal will be designed to simplify administrative burdens, cut red tape, boost growth and competitiveness, widen consumer choice and create jobs on both sides, while underlining the EU's ongoing commitment to promoting openness and removing walls, barriers and tariffs that can discourage cross-border trade.