Mexico, EU reach deal to update trade agreement

Mexican President Pena Nieto delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe trade fair in Hanover

The European Union has agreed to cooperate with Mexico

Mexico faces a challenge with the United States and Canada in overhauling NAFTA.

The new deal, which has been under negotiation for nearly two years, upgrades a previous agreement signed in 1997 that was mainly focused on liberalising trade in industrial goods. The agreement, awaiting to be finalised and approved, comes as trade between the European Union and Mexico having risen at a rate of around 8% per year, resulting in an overall increase of 148% in trade in goods over the period. For the remaining items, customs duties will be eliminated over time or for a limited amount defined as a quota. Mexico City and Brussels have also committed to implementing their obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Mexico will remove its high tariffs on key European Union foods, including apples and canned peaches, which are now subject to a duty of up to 20 per cent.

A government statement says tariffs will be scrapped on Mexican orange juice, tuna, honey, agave syrup, fruits and vegetables, among others.

European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, welcomed the new EU-Mexico trade agreement, which took less than two years to negotiate and sign, as an example of how Europe's relationships with third countries can deliver strong economic growth.

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Beyond tariffs, the agreement includes a comprehensive commitment on sustainable development, which establishes the highest possible standards for labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection.

Mexico's president has said at a trade fair in Germany that he's optimistic about reaching a deal to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico has a population of 128m and is Ireland's largest trading partner in Latin America.

"Ireland is ideally placed to benefit from the removal of tariffs from goods and services to Mexico".

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