The updated EU-Mexico trade agreement, reached over the weekend, will result in zero duties on nearly all goods, including agricultural items - yet another reason the UK must remain in the customs union if it leaves the EU, states Scottish Labour MEP David Martin.
Under the agreement, Mexico will remove its high tariffs on many key EU food products such as pasta, chocolate, cheese, apples, pork and poultry, leading to an increase in EU exports of those products; meanwhile a UK parliamentary committee this week warned that without access to European markets, British exports of processed foods such as chocolate, cheese, beef and pork will suffer, while consumers will face higher prices and less choice on supermarket shelves.
The EU-Mexico trade agreement follows the finalising last week of free trade agreements with Japan and Singapore, and illustrates that while UK ministers just talk trade, the EU continues to sign new trade partnerships that will benefit EU consumers and businesses, highlighting once more how vital it is to remain in the customs union.
The agreement also contains binding commitments to protect workers' rights, and protect environmental and climate standards, and is also the first EU trade agreement to tackle corruption, including measures to fight bribery and money laundering.
David Martin MEP, Member of the European Parliament international trade committee, said:
“Tory ministers made big claims at last week’s Commonwealth Summit that they would make progress on new trade deals, on which they’ve once again failed to deliver, while the EU just gets on with it, adding Mexico to Japan and Singapore in the past few days alone.
“And while a Tory minister faces investigation for breaching money-laundering rules, the Mexico deal will be the first EU trade agreement to include measures to prevent and combat corruption, including making bribery a criminal offence for government officials, strengthening internal controls, external auditing and financial reporting, and tackling money laundering.
“Analysts predict Mexico’s economy will be the world´s seventh-largest by 2050, and offers many opportunities for British businesses. It is essential the UK does not leave the customs union and put up trade barriers with the EU and by extension Mexico and every other country the EU has a deal with.”
1. Factsheet on EU-Mexico trade agreement: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-18-1447_en.htm
2. Business, energy and industrial strategy committee report on the impact of Brexit on the processed food and drink sector: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmbeis/381/381.pdf
3. Parliament watchdog opens investigation into health secretary’s admission he breached money laundering rules: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/18/jeremy-hunt-investigated-breach-money-laundering-rules-luxury-flats
4. BCC report on Mexico: http://exportbritain.org.uk/market-snapshots/mexico.html