International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is set to fire the starting gun on free trade talks between the UK and Mexico during the visit of her Mexican counterpart, Tatiana Clouthier to London this afternoon.
Officials said UK negotiators would be looking to go “further and deeper” in terms of integrating ties in a relationship already worth more than £4bn.
They are looking to increase trade flows across the financial, creative, digital and technology services sectors as they work towards a post-Brexit accord with the world’s 16th biggest economy.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) described Mexico as a major market for UK exporters and said the country’s expanding population – set to reach almost 150 million within the next 13 years – means demand for imports is due to increase by more than a third by 2035.
Its position in Central America means it serves as both a gateway to the rest of the Americas and also to the trans-Pacific region, which Britain has identified as becoming increasingly important in terms of defence and security.
The divorce from Brussels in 2020 gave the UK the ability to strike its own bilateral trade deals, having previously had to rely on the European Union to negotiate new terms on its behalf while a member of the bloc.
The latest talks are the third major free trade agreement negotiations launched by Ms Trevelyan this year following visits to India in January and Canada in March.
Ms Trevelyan said: “This enhanced deal would transform our relationship with Mexico, making the most of the immense opportunities its dynamic business landscape and young, growing population offer.
“From autonomous vehicle manufacturers in the West Midlands, to Wales’ green tech businesses and Scotland’s thriving food and drink sector, companies of all shapes and sizes across the UK stand to benefit.”nternational Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan
“Trade deals like this are vital to growing the economy to address the cost of living, as they support jobs, help businesses thrive and spur investment.
“We’ve already kick-started negotiations with India and Canada and are close to joining the CPTPP free trade area, with a combined GDP of £9 trillion, of which Mexico is a key member.”
Compared with the current 20-year-old EU deal that the UK trades under with Mexico, negotiators are aiming to secure tariff reductions worth £57 million per year and to ensure tariff-free trade on 97% of UK goods.
Officials said an ambitious services commitment could increase domestic insurance sector opportunities by around £80 million, while exports of financial services could also increase by around £20 million.
DIT said, as part of a potential free trade deal, it would be looking to help workers move between the two countries more easily.