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Amid trade tensions with the US, Mexico draws closer to Europe

Feb 1, 2017

Mexico and the EU announce plans to hold talks in April and June to deepen economic ties

Keywords: Mexico EU US trade Enrique Pena Nieto Donald Trump

Mexico is moving to deepen its trade ties with the European Union (EU) as the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) looks uncertain.

Mexico and the EU announced plans on Wednesday to hold meetings in April and June in what officials called "an accelerated negotiation schedule" for a new trade agreement.

"We will take our relations fully into the 21st Century," Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a joint statement. "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."

The statement comes as tensions over trade between Mexico and the US have intensified under President Donald Trump, who has said he plans to renegotiate NAFTA, which also includes Canada.

On Friday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Trump spoke by telephone after a week that saw Trump  claim Mexico "has taken advantage of the US for long enough" a day after Mexican and US officials held talks focused on trade and other issues. The Mexican president cancelled a planned meeting with Trump in response to the US leader’s claims that Mexico will pay to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The EU and Mexico first signed a free trade agreement in 2000. But Guajardo and Malmstrom said "global trade patterns have changed" and there is a need for a "broader and more far-reaching" agreement.

The EU is Mexico’s third-largest trading partner after the US and China. Trade between the EU and Mexico more than doubled between 2005 and 2015 to €53bn from €26bn.

Last month, in a speech laying out Mexico’s foreign policies as it prepares for negotiations with the Trump administration, Peña Nieto  said Mexico plans to broaden its export markets and increase investment from Asia, Latin America and Europe.



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Comments
  • Bruno Feb 18, 2017

    Fine, they wake up

  • Ramon G Feb 13, 2017

    Trump knows nothing about macro-economics, and open markets have been promoted by renown economists as the best way to enlarge our economies.
    Therefore, we should let Trump and other isolationists dance with themselves.

    Free trade doesn't mean that we open our economies indiscriminately, just open up to whatever products or services complement our economies' needs; products we don't make or produce competitively, and trough these deals become available at better prices for the industry or consumer.

    Commerce between Mexico and the US more than doubled in ten years. That alone shows an enlargement of both economies.

    If the USA under Trump wants to claim that the deal is unfair for the nation with the largest economy that has championed free markets and openness for a long time, let them be. The world is wide open, and China may take over as the main economy of the world. So, welcome Latin American deals, European Union deals, TPP deals, and, of course, a good trade deal with China.

  • Harald Ort Feb 10, 2017

    Mexico should look carefully what are the real interests of United Kingdom. Are they acting as independent nation or as ally of U.S.A.
    So the European Union (excluding UK) will really be an option. Spain, Portugal, Italy will be much better allies for Mexico than UK.

  • Drew Feb 8, 2017

    Britain should block any attempt at a rapid trade deal and play the EU at its same perverse game.

    If Mexico is smart, it should ask itself why the world's 5th biggest economy voted to leave the EU.

    In short, it is clear that Britain is concerned that Germany is yet again moving dangerously towards a dictatorial agenda that ended badly in the 1930s. It abuses the EU laws of running a surplus and basically does whatever it wishes.

    Britain is an independent minded country that has always stood for opposing what is wrong and will no longer tolerate German interference. There is no place for both.

    Mexico will learn to its cost that if you want a rapid response, don't look to the EU. BY all means, look to Britain and look to Central and South America, who are far more natural partners and now have better established economic platforms than was previously the case.

  • catherine Feb 8, 2017

    I do hope that Mexico treads carefully with regard to Europe.

  • Javier Zelaya Feb 7, 2017

    Mexico should look into further trade deals with China, Japan and Latin America.

  • luis Feb 6, 2017

    Mexico must look doing business with central and south America to expand the market to the south, not only seeing to the north or europe

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