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EU-Mexico Trade Relations: Mexico aims for EU free-trade deal by end of February - by Philip Blenkinsop

Mexico reducing its reliance on US
Mexico believes it can conclude a new free-trade agreement with the European Union before the end of February, a Mexican official close to the talks said on Wednesday.

The EU and Mexico intend to update a trade deal agreed 21 years ago that largely covers industrial goods. They want to add farm products, more services, investment and government procurement, and include provisions on labor standards and environmental protection. 

Mexican negotiators are in Brussels this week, with the two sides due to reconvene next week in Mexico. 

The Mexican official said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom could come in the week starting Feb. 19 to help push talks to a close and to allow an initial deal to be announced, though only if a deal was within reach. 

For Mexico, a deal with the EU would be part of a strategy to reduce its reliance on the United States, the destination of nearly 80 percent of its exports. That has become more urgent, given U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Mexico is one of 11 countries expected to sign an Asia-Pacific trade pact in March after the United States pulled out of an earlier version.

Read more: Mexico aims for EU free-trade deal by end of February

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