The new free-trade deal that has been preliminarily agreed over the weekend between the European Union and Mexico has been welcomed.

Announced on Saturday (April 21), the new agreement means that practically all trade in goods between the EU and Mexico will now be duty-free – including in the agricultural sector, according to the European Commission.

This agreement proves – yet again – the value of the EU leading from the front globally in promoting open and rules-based trade, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said.

Continuing, he added: “Our commitment is to deliver benefits for our citizens at home through closer cooperation with our partners abroad.

This deal is very positive for our agri-food sector, creating new export opportunities for our high-quality food and drink products – which in turn will create and support more jobs and growth, particularly in rural areas.

Agricultural exports from the EU are set to benefit the most, such as poultry, cheese, chocolate, pasta, and pork, the commission explained.

The agreement will, in particular:
  • Provide preferential access for many cheeses such as Gorgonzola and Roquefort, which currently are up to 20%, and gain significant new access for many others within annual quotas;
  • Secure a considerable volume for milk powder exports in one of the largest markets, starting with 30,000t from entry into force, rising to 50,000t after 5 years;
  • Allow the EU to substantially increase its pork exports to Mexico, with duty-free trade for virtually all pork products;
  • Eliminate tariffs for products like chocolate (currently up to 30%) and pasta (currently up to 20%);
  • Ensure the protection from imitation for 340 distinctive European foods and drink products in Mexico.

The preliminary agreement on the trade deal is good news for Irish business, the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, explained.

“Ireland is ideally placed to benefit from the removal of tariffs from goods and services to Mexico. This preliminary deal between the EU and Mexico is great news.

“The existing deal between the EU and Mexico is 21 years old and mainly covers industrial goods. This updated deal seeks to include a wide range of sectors, with agricultural exports from the EU set to benefit the most.

“Ireland is a significant exporter to Mexico of powdered milk and milk derivatives; the removal of tariffs should boost this trade significantly. This is very welcome, particularly for our farmers and the agri-business sector as a whole,” he said.