Mexico trade agreement: important signal against protectionism

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This would replace a previous deal that had been in place since 2002.

It will mean that 99 per cent of products can be traded between the European Union and Mexico duty free.

Additional details about the agreement will still need to be hashed out before it becomes official. For the remaining items, customs duties will be eliminated over time or for a limited amount defined as a quota.

"In less than two years, the European Union and Mexico have delivered a deal fit for the economic and political challenges of the 21 century", she said.

With lingering uncertainty still surrounding NAFTA - including a tweet by United States President Donald Trump today suggesting an agreement might be conditional on immigration policy - news of the deal was welcomed as it could help Mexico reduce its dependency on its northern neighbor.

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.

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The EU-Mexico Global Agreement concluded in principle at the weekend marked another important and welcome step in Europe's leadership in advocating free trade.

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

Officials also say the agreement opens the door for companies in the European Union or Mexico to bid for government contracts overseas.

The agreement also lays down "progressive rules on sustainable development" with the two parties pledging to "effectively implement their obligations" under the Paris agreement on climate change.

EU loyalists have long claimed that the bloc would not give Britain, even as its single-largest trade partner, a "better deal" than EU members themselves have - a slightly curious argument in that it implies that the Free Movement of People which Brussels sells as a positive feature of EU membership is, in fact, a cost which it imposes on members.

Total EU-Mexico trade in 2017 amounted to €62bn billion for goods and €15bn billion for services (2016).

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