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EU, Mexico Pushing Ahead With FTA Talks

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

02 January 2018

The EU and Mexico are "very close to a deal" on a new free trade agreement (FTA) but "not there yet," according to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

The EU and Mexico met for a seventh round of negotiations from December 12-21. The talks followed hot on the heels of a sixth round, which took place from November 25 to December 1.

Malmstrom said: "We've made a lot of progress and we are very close to a deal, but we are not there yet. It's in sight but we do need some additional work at the beginning of next year, aiming for a deal that is right, not any deal."

According to a statement issued by the EU, negotiating teams discussed all areas of the prospective agreement. Negotiators finalized their work on competition, SMEs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, transparency, regulatory practices, and trade and sustainable development. Negotiations also covered the revised market access offers for goods, which were exchanged after the sixth round of talks.

However, there remain a number of outstanding issues related to market access and rules.

Malmstrom said that, in addition to the economic benefits arising from a new FTA, the agreement will help "tie our citizens closer together" and "confirm our shared values on sustainable development, labor and environmental rules, human rights, and our objectives on climate change." The agreement will also include a chapter on tackling corruption in the public and private sectors.

The two sides will continue their work toward a final agreement in the coming weeks, Malmstrom said.

The negotiating teams decided to stay in continuous contact and to meet again after the winter break. Precise dates for their next meeting have yet to be decided.

In 1997, a Global Agreement between the EU and Mexico entered into force. It includes trade rules that were later developed into the current FTA, which has been in force since October 2000. Negotiations toward a new FTA were launched in May 2016.

TAGS: environment | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | tariffs | trade treaty | Mexico | agreements | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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