Amid trade tensions with the US, Mexico draws closer to Europe
Mexico and the EU announce plans to hold talks in April and June to deepen economic ties
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
"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
On Friday, Mexican President Enrique Peña
Nieto and Trump spoke by telephone after a week that saw
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
said Mexico plans to broaden its export markets and
increase investment from Asia, Latin America and Europe.