Mexico and the European Union to close free trade agreement this yearBy Elliot Bullman
The objective is to reach an agreement before the Mexican presidential elections and the European parliamentary elections.
Mexico and the European Union (EU) are seeking to close the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement before the end of this year, according to EFE news agency.
Economy Secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo hopes that both sides will conclude the agreement by the end of 2017, before the presidential elections in Mexico in 2018 and the European Parliament elections in 2019. And also said thatlast year negotiations began with European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to begin the process of renegotiating this pact.
During his visit to Mexico, Malmström stressed that the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Mexico also seeks to "send a clear signal to the world" so as not to weaken the rules governing international trade.
"At this time, there are those who doubt the benefit of free trade and a multilateral regulation. We want to make trade and give this signal: we want to build bridges, not walls, "remarked the commissioner, referring to US President Donald Trump.
Guajardo explained that several chapters have been reviewed, including intellectual property protection, and Malmström added that he is analysing how to include "somewhat sensitive" products in the agreement, without specifying which ones. Both parties have already begun to establish joint texts.
Malmström acknowledged that there is a European will to close this agreement before the end of the year, as it is an "ambitious" but "feasible" objective.
There are still some meetings to finalize the treaty. The fourth round of negotiations will take place in Mexico City from 26 to 30 June, and the next round will be held from 25 to 29 September in Brussels, Belgium; the final round will be held from November 27 to December 1 in the Mexican capital.
If the agreement is reached by the end of the year, the Mexican Senate will seek to ratify it by April 2018.In the meantime, the process in the European Union would be longer because the agreement has to be translated into the different languages that make up that association and be approved by the different States and in the European Parliament.
The European bloc is Mexico's third largest trading partner behind the United States and China.Between 1999 and 2016, Mexico's trade with the European Union tripled from US $ 18.5 billion to US $ 61.7 billion, according to the Ministry of Economy.However, these figures are a long way away from those offered by the present trade accord with the US which is around US$500 billion.
The secretary of the Economy said that for the country it is an "obligation" to diversify markets, especially in the face of the US position to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement."Mexico will continue, and now more than ever before, the diversification strategy becomes an obligation to reposition the national economy," said the official.
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