EU trade chief calls on Mexico to reopen trade pact with Europe

Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:45pm EST
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QUERETARO Nov 12 (Reuters) - Europe and Mexico need to go back to the negotiating table to rework their 12-year-old free-trade agreement to include services and agriculture, the European Union's top trade official said on Monday.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said Mexico and Europe needed to rework their trade pact, which was signed in 2000, to match the framework of more recent and comprehensive deals.

"Mexico and the European Union have been pioneers of transatlantic free trade but our legal relationship now risks falling behind," De Gucht told a conference in the central Mexican city of Queretaro.

Europe is Mexico's third-biggest trading partner behind the United States and China, but the trade of Latin America's second-biggest economy is focused on its northern neighbor, which buys nearly 80 percent of Mexican exports.

The EU is nearing a wide-reaching deal with Canada, and the European Parliament could approve by the end of the year a deal with Colombia and Peru that ministers signed in March, De Gucht said.

The EU also hopes to launch talks on a similar comprehensive deal with the United States next year.

De Gucht said Mexico and the EU should reopen their previous agreement to include services, agriculture as well as investment, technical barriers and public procurement.

"It will make a lot of sense to upgrade our relations with Mexico (which is) in the middle of this whole cluster of agreements that we have been concluding and that we are concluding," De Gucht told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

"Now it is up to the Mexicans to reciprocate such an offer and then we can engage in a process," he said.   Continued...