Mexico, EU expect quick wrap up of updated free trade accord
MEXICO CITY, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Mexico and the European Union (EU) expect to conclude updating their free trade agreement in the next few weeks, Mexico's Economy Ministry said on Tuesday.
Following the conclusion of the sixth round of talks to modernize the deal, the ministry said in a press release the two sides made progress on all topics.
The talks, which began on Nov. 27 in Mexico City, also led to agreements in policies on competition, and small and medium-size businesses, the ministry said.
Also on the agenda were access to real estate markets, rules of origin, easing trade, regulatory improvements, intellectual property, state companies and other issues.
"The modernization of the MEUFTA is priority on Mexico's trade agenda, oriented towards strengthening integration with existing trade partners and promoting the diversification of global economic ties," the ministry said.
The negotiating teams, which have been in talks since June 2016, will continue to consult this week via video-conference calls until their next meeting on Dec. 11 in Brussels, Belgium.
The objective is to finalize the deal at upcoming meetings between Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and his EU counterpart, Cecilia Malmstrom, scheduled for the week of Dec. 18.
Trade exchange between Mexico and the EU has tripled since 2000 from 20.8 billion U.S. dollars to 61.7 billion dollars, according to Mexican officials.
European companies have invested 174.8 billion U.S. dollars in Mexico since 1999, representing 35.9 percent of the Latin American country's total foreign direct investment over the period.
The EU is Mexico's second largest investor after the United States, with which Mexico and Canada are currently renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).