EU and Mexico closing in on new trade deal this year

Cecilia Malmström admitted that "there is still work to do, but they are working very hard"

EU Trade Chief Cecilia Malmström (right) and Council President Urve Palo (left) - Photo: Taken from press conference video
English 11/11/2017 14:01 EFE Brussels Actualizada 14:07

The European Union (EU) considers that there is a "realistic chance" to conclude the negotiation of trade agreements with both Mexico and the Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur abbreviated Mercosur) by the end of the year, despite a series of differences in the agricultural sector.

"We are doing good advances, we have a realistic chance of concluding these two agreements by the end of the year," said EU Trade Chief Cecilia Malmström at a press conference on trade by the Foreign Affairs Council held on Friday, November 10.

Cecilia Malmström admitted that "there is still work to do, but they are working very hard."

The Foreign Affairs Council took stock of the work with Mexico and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay), and supported that the outcome has to be “balanced.”

"These are two important negotiations from a political and economic point of view," said Council President Urve Palo.

Malmström recalled that the agreement with Mexico is "an update of an old agreement that was very modern” back in 2000 while the Mercosur new agreement is going through an "intense activity" that makes the negotiations go "very fast".

"There is strong support to conclude the agreement with Mercosur," Malmström said, although she acknowledged that "sensitivities" persist in terms of certain agricultural products such as beef and sugar.

In this regard, Malmström said that the EU will have to present to Mercosur a "final offer" (the first was considered insufficient), on which the European Commission maintains "internal discussions" before submitting it to the opinion of European countries.

Malmström stressed that there has yet to be a final offer by both parties and that several chapters are still pending conclusion.

Additionally, the negotiation of a new trade deal with Japan following the political agreement reached on July 6 was discussed as well.

Malmström was confident that the agreement, which still has "technical" aspects pending, yet the deal may be closed "for Christmas."

Both Malmström and Palo reviewed the preparations for the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, which will take place from December 10 to 13 in Buenos Aires.


Video: Taken from European Council website​