September 23, 2019
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EU's top diplomat visits Mexico to boost trade agreement

By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

Mexico City, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs visited Mexico on Wednesday to boost a trade agreement between the North American country and the bloc after negotiations had been stalled for more than a year.

"The purpose of my visit here in these days is exactly to try and give a push for the finalization of these negotiations," Federica Mogherini said during a conference held at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Mogherini, whose term as the head of European diplomacy is set to end in a few weeks, said that the negotiations have been concluded except for one pending issue involving public contracts so that companies can participate in bids from both sides, which she said has been paralyzed for a year and a few months.

“We are so close, but you can be so close for a long time,” said Mogherini. “So, my message would be 'let's try to bridge this gap, this remaining issue."'

During her visit to the Latin American country, Mogherini said that the agreement was "extremely important" for the economy, for bilateral cooperation, for people's lives and for the entire world.

"I hope and I believe that we can sign this agreement in the coming months," the Italian diplomat added. "It is my hope and my expectation and my ambition."

Mogherini said that she had recently met with the ambassadors of the EU's member states in Mexico, who expressed their support for the trade deal.

"We want it and I hear that the Mexican side wants it. So, let's do it," Mogherini said as she concluded one of her last events in her current position before her mandate expires next month when the new European Commission leadership is set to take over.

The EU and Mexico have been renegotiating for years the so-called Global Agreement, which became effective in 2000 and includes complex stipulations regarding policies such as rules for trade in goods, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as well as respect for the environment, workers' rights, and industrial property.

The renewed agreement includes the liberalization of the agricultural sector – which was not included in the 2000 deal – so that tariffs will be eliminated on products such as cheese, which now have tariffs of 45 percent.

In addition, specific products such as Mexican tequila or some European cheeses will be protected.

In 2017, the EU exported 38 billion euros ($41.85 billion) in goods and 10 billion euros in services to Mexico, while Mexico exported 24 billion euros in goods and 5 billion euros in services to EU countries, according to official EU data.

The EU invested 13.25 billion euros annually in Mexico in 2017, being its second-largest investor after the United States, while Mexico invested 4.755 billion euros in EU countries.

In addition, there are 28,000 companies in Mexico backed by European capital, generating thousands of jobs. EFE-EPA

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