Mexico will be more inside the European Union than the United Kingdom
After announcing a new free trade agreement with the European Union, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto went to visit the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. In Mexico, Volkswagen has a long history, almost as long as the Castro dictatorship in Cuba, and today the Puebla factory is the second largest in the world, producing vehicles to export to more than 120 countries.}
The company Volkswagen de México was created in 1964 and a year later began the construction of the plant on the outskirts of Puebla. There have been manufactured more than 10 million cars, starting with the Volkswagen Sedan or "Beetle", as is known among Latin Americans. Mexico was also the only country where this iconic model was still produced before it left the market in 2003. Currently, the factory in Puebla employs more than 15,000 workers and nearly 500 robots, being the largest of the Volkswagen Group after the headquarters in Wolfsburg.
Enrique Peña Nieto, who has just over six months left as president, took the opportunity to visit that plant while passing through Europe. The president arrived in Germany on Saturday, from where he celebrated with Angela Merkel the new trade agreement between Mexico and the European Union that eliminates virtually all tariffs.
The agreement expands the terms of a treaty that these two economies had almost 20 years ago. According to a statement from the European Commission, agricultural products will benefit most. Europe will be able to export more pork, milk powder, chocolate, pasta and various types of cheese, among others. Also, the Ministry of Economy of Mexico stressed that the country will obtain better conditions for trade in products such as mango, coffee, vanilla, tequila, chicken and asparagus.
But that is not all. The treaty also has a chapter on sustainable development and climate change, and is the first trade agreement of the European Union that includes measures against corruption. Agreements were also reached in relation to intellectual property rights, investments and exchange of services.
Mexico and the European Union had been negotiating the conditions to update the agreement for two years and it seems that the dialogues accelerated to close the deal in view of the uncertain panorama of international trade relations. While the European Union is trying to resolve the Brexit situation, Mexico is suffering from the demands of Trump that threatens to abandon NAFTA.
Amidst these tensions, the European Union's Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, said that the agreement signed between the EU and Mexico sends a strong message that it is possible to modernize existing trade relations when countries share a clear belief in the merits of openness and free and fair trade.
But if the message is not very convincing for those who are pushing protectionist measures, at least the Europeans will have tequila at better prices and Mexicans will be able to eat more Gorgonzola and Roquefort. Both Mexico and the European Union need to ensure good trade relations to continue exporting their products in case their closest friends decide to leave each one on their own.
Latin American Post | Paula Bautista
Translated from "Así celebró Peña Nieto el nuevo tratado comercial entre México y la Unión Europea"