Mexico to Merkel: we want 'significant increase' in trade

2017-06-10 11:10
Enrique Pena Nieto (AP).

Enrique Pena Nieto (AP).

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Mexico City - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he wanted a significant increase in trade with the EU, vowing to complete a new trade deal by year's end.

Pena Nieto's Mexican government has been actively seeking new trade opportunities since US President Donald Trump came to office with a threat to curb Mexico's privileged access to American markets.

Mexico is currently in negotiations with the EU to modernise a free trade agreement they signed 20 years ago.

Both Merkel and Pena Nieto vowed on Friday to conclude the expanded deal by the end of the year, as the German leader kicked off a two-day visit to Mexico.

"We hope the modernisation of the free trade agreement between Mexico and the European Union leads to a significant increase in our trade relationship," Pena Nieto told a joint press conference.

Trump jab

Merkel praised Mexico's "strong commitment to free trade", in a veiled jab at Trump's attacks on globalisation.

Both Merkel and Pena Nieto have been on the receiving end of some of Trump's most fiery attacks on trade.

The US president has triggered the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with Canada and Mexico, which he says has resulted in American jobs flooding south across the border.

In May he also lashed out at what he called the US's massive trade deficit with Germany, and accused the country of failing to pay its way in the NATO alliance.

Mexico and Germany did $17.8bn in trade in 2016, and are keen to expand the relationship.

Major German automakers such as Volkswagen and Audi have opened large plants here, helping make Mexico the seventh-largest auto producer in the world.

Germany's foreign direct investment here totalled $2.4bn in 2016, more than any other country except the US and Spain.

Merkel, who is traveling with a large business delegation, was in Argentina - another Latin American powerhouse - on Thursday and Friday morning.

She will attend an economic forum on Saturday before flying home.

Read more on:    enrique pena nieto  |  angela merkel  |  mexico

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