Mexico could be set to become an increasingly important trading partner for export-driven businesses worldwide in the coming years, as the North American nation seeks to expand its international trade capabilities.
The country, already one of the US' most strategically important commercial partners, is looking to bolster the range of opportunities companies within and beyond Mexico have to do business with each other, and has opened discussions with several leading nations in order to make this a reality.
Over the last few years, Mexico has been making efforts to facilitate an easier flow of imports and exports, including the FTA EU-MX free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union that was introduced in 2000, or the IMMEX programme of incentives for Mexican companies that export goods. Recent developments have indicated that further initiatives of this kind could be on the horizon.
Adopting the rules of the TTIP
One of the biggest developments in trade relations between the Americas and Europe at the moment is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a major trade pact being brokered by the US and EU that aims to reduce the bureaucracy and costs associated with business between the regions.
While the agreement is yet to be finalised and still needs to convince the public of its worth, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto has confirmed that his government is watching the developments with interest and may seek to adopt it if it becomes law.
During a recent visit to Berlin, he said the deal could offer more opportunities for free trade and that Mexico would be interested in negotiating similar terms with the EU, bringing it in line with the US and Canada, its North American Free Trade Agreement partners.
Mr Pena Nieto said: "Regarding TTIP, the EU and US, I think it's perhaps a chance to update the opportunities there are within the framework of free trade, and Mexico could then also do it with the countries of the EU."
Seeking an FTA with South Korea
The Mexican government's commitment to finding opportunities for new FTAs has been underlined by its efforts to agree a new bilateral trade deal with South Korea.
This has been a goal for some time, but the most recent attempt to generate momentum for a such a deal ran out of steam in 2008, with disagreements over the rules surrounding the automobile industry scuppering the process.
However, in the years since, the value of bilateral trade between the nations has increased substantially to $17.5 billion (€15.54 billion) - up from $4 billion in 2000 - generating fresh impetus for a deal to be agreed.
South Korean president Park Geun-hye told the El Universal newspaper that work is being done to secure a deal with the Asian nation's leading commercial partner in Latin America, which would be organised alongside Mexico's efforts to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership into effect.
Ms Park said: "My expectation is to complete a free trade agreement between our two nations that will open a new door to the markets of northeast Asia for Mexico and provide better access to markets in Latin America and North America for Korea."
Strengthening trade links with the UK
Efforts are also being made to foster a stronger trade relationship between Mexico and the UK, with the new British minister for trade and investment Lord Price having recently attended a meeting of the Senior Business Leaders Group in Mexico.
The aim of this visit was to find ways that the UK government can support companies looking to export their wares to Mexico, as well as attracting investment in the opposite direction. This involved conversations with a number of key Mexican government ministers and business leaders from both nations.
Bilateral trade between the UK and Mexico stood at just over £3 billion (€3.84 billion) in 2014, with British exports of goods to the nation having increased by 55 per cent between 2011 and 2015.
"The UK and Mexico have a strong trading relationship - they are our largest food and drink trading partner in Latin America. I am pleased to be here, on my first trip as trade minister, to look at ways of building on the trade ties between our two countries," said Lord Price.