The European Union and Mexico have announced plans to accelerate the progress of their negotiations over a new free trade agreement (FTA) between the regions.
Two additional negotiating rounds have been pencilled in before summer as part of the accelerated negotiation schedule, to take place from April 3rd to 7th and from June 26th to 29th.
Additionally, EU commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom has agreed to meet with Mexico's economic minister Ildefonso Guajardo in Mexico City between these rounds, to take stock and push negotiators for further progress.
The existing FTA between the EU and Mexico was signed in 2000, with talks over an updated deal commencing last year to reflect the substantial changes in global trade patterns that have occurred since then.
Between 2005 and 2015, the yearly trade flow of goods between Mexico and the EU have more than doubled from €26 billion to €53 billion, thanks in large part to the existing FTA. The new agreement is set to be broader and more far-reaching, with the stated aim of mirroring other trade deals that the EU and Mexico have negotiated more recently.
These negotiations take place against a backdrop of growing opposition to free trade deals from many leading politicians, with new US president Donald Trump having recently threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexican goods as part of a wider political dispute between the two countries.
Ms Malmstrom said: "Together, we are witnessing the worrying rise of protectionism around the world. Side by side, as like-minded partners, we must now stand up for the idea of global, open cooperation.
"We are already well underway in our joint efforts to deepen openness to trade on both sides. Now, we will accelerate the pace of these talks in order to reap the benefits sooner."