NZ Herald | 3 February 2017
Mexico seeking bilateral free trade deal with NZ in wake of TPP collapse
by Fran O’Sullivan
Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto wants to forge a bilateral free trade agreement with New Zealand and other TPP countries.
Peña Nieto’s confirmation comes in the wake of the US President Donald Trump’s decision to collapse the Trans Pacific Partnership deal.
It is a signal that the TPP nations are not going to stand by and let Trump waste eight years of hard negotiations between the TPP parties to get commonality on major issues affecting Asia-Pacific trade.
Not only is New Zealand on the Mexican president’s dance card but also Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
"The president has already instructed me to convert the Transpacific Association Agreement (TPP) into bilateral agreements with all the countries with which we do not have free trade agreements," Ildefonso Guajardo, secretary of Economy (SE) told the Financial Times.
The FT reported officials confirmed the order at a meeting with businessmen of the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in Washington, DC.
"I have been working for four years to diversify and open the trade bridges I have with other countries," Guajardo told Amcham’s businessmen.
The TPP is composed of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
In an email circulated this morning, the Mexican Ambassador to New Zealand José Gerardo Traslosherosare said: "We are happy to share with you that the Mexican government has decided to launch bilateral FTA negotiations with a number of TPP countries, and this includes New Zealand."
The ambassador noted that Mexican and US businesses (including Mexican business chambers and the American Chamber of Commerce) had also expressed their full support to maintain and improve the NAFTA.
"It is in everyone interest to maintain and improve what has been a very productive relation between Mexico and the US regarding not only trade, but also immigration and security issues."
The FT reports one of the most sensitive sectors for Mexico is agriculture, since Australia and New Zealand occupy important positions in the international trade of several raw materials, especially dairy products.
In the TPP, for example, Mexico undertook to open quotas on the importation of dairy products and palm oil gradually to reach 60,625 tonnes per year from year 11 of the entry into force of that agreement.
Mexico also has opportunities to increase its exports of manufactured goods to the TPP nations - particularly automobiles.