Ett frihandelsavtal mellan EU och Mexiko är ytterligare ett i rad av avtal som skyndats på när USA blir mer protektionistiskt och NAFTA är hotat.
Nu är avtalet inte alldeles nytt utan en uppgradering av ett avtal från år 2000. Livsmedel, offentlig upphandling och investeringar läggs till det gamla avtalet som i huvudsak omfattade industriprodukter.
Men det återstår ännu en hel del förhandlingar men målet är att avtalet med Mexiko skall vara klart under 2018. Innan dess kommer sannolikt EU:s avtal med Mercosur att vara i hamn.
“EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom told reporters at the end of a round of talks this week that the two sides were edging towards a deal, with more work needed at the start of 2018.
“We are very close to a deal, but not really there yet … We can see the skeleton of this agreement. We know how to get there, we know what to do,” she said.
Mexico and the EU still have to sort out how much to open up their markets to products that include Mexican beef, sugar, poultry and fruit and EU pork and dairy produce.
They also have to bridge differences over a system to settle disputes between states and companies and the EU system of protecting region-specific products, known as geographical indications (GIs), so that, for example, only sparkling wines from the French region of Champagne can call themselves champagne.
“We started talking about almost 400 (GIs) and there are a couple remaining where we need to find solutions,” Malmstrom said.
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo also said the two parties were “very close, very near” to revamping their 17-year-old accord and said his country saw some merit in a system that would, for example, protect tequila as a Mexican product.
For Mexico, a deal with the European Union would be part of a strategy to reduce its reliance on the United States, the destination of nearly 80 percent of its exports. This has become even more urgent given Trump’s threat to scrap the NAFTA trade deal.
Guajardo said his country was working on six fronts in Latin America, Asia and Europe as well as with NAFTA partners, the United States and Canada.”