After legal changes, Mexico resists European pressure to approve a trade deal

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The EU was Mexico’s biggest export market just after the US in 2021.

Mexico is resisting pressure from the European Union to sign off on a trade deal that was agreed upon four years ago, arguing legal changes recently proposed by Brussels will slow down the approval process.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said Mexican officials “are taking their time” after Brussels made some amendments that mirror a structure used in an accord between the EU and Chile finalized last month. Brussels hopes the tweaks should smooth the deal’s ratification, but Mexico City fears they could mean the treaty requires separate stages of approval. “In recent weeks we proposed a possible solution on the legal architecture of this modernized global agreement to Mexico,” Dombrovskis said.

“We think it’s a good solution, which also takes into account some of Mexico’s concerns,” he added. “We are currently waiting for Mexico’s final response on this. We’re ready to move forward with the agreement as soon as we get that reply.” Mexico is seen as a potentially leading exporter of machinery, appliances, and mineral products to the EU as Brussels seeks to reduce its reliance on China.

Héctor Vasconcelos, president of Mexico’s Senate foreign relations committee and a close adviser to populist leftwing president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, denied Mexico was holding up the trade agreement, saying: “We are ready to ratify this at any moment because we consider this matter [the trade deal] closed.”

“Mexico’s position is that it is not necessary to separate the agreement into parts. It must be approved as [initially] agreed upon by the commissions negotiating the agreement,” he said, adding that the changes could lead to a renegotiation of the deal being required. López Obrador’s ruling Morena party and its allies hold a majority in the Senate, which must ratify the treaty.

The economy ministry, which is responsible for negotiating the trade deal, did not respond to requests for comment. Mexico wants provisions on issues such as a modernized investment protection regime to apply as soon as the trade deal to cut tariffs takes effect, but the EU favors delaying them. This is because national parliaments must vote in favor of them as well as the European parliament. National governments can approve trade-only deals.

Click here to read the complete original article in the Financial Times

Source: Financial Times

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