Anna Cecilia Malmström European Commissioner for Trade_optThe European Union and Mexico have announced an intention to accelerate trade talks and are planning two additional rounds of discussion on a “reformed free trade agreement” before the northern hemisphere summer.

In a joint statement on the move, EU commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström (pictured), and Mexico’s minister of the economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, said: “Together, we are witnessing the worrying rise of protectionism around the world. Side by side, as like-minded partners, we must now stand up for the idea of global, open cooperation.

“We are already well underway in our joint efforts to deepen openness to trade on both sides. Now, we will accelerate the pace of these talks in order to reap the benefits sooner.”

Last year, the EU and Mexico initiated negotiations to update their existing free trade agreement from 2000, pointing out that global trade patterns had changed substantially during the subsequent 16-year period.

“The purpose of this modernising process is to better mirror other ambitious trade deals that the EU and Mexico have negotiated lately,” said the two trading partners.

Between 2005 and 2015, annual trade flows between the two had more than doubled from €26 billion ($28 billion) to €53 billion. This makes the EU Mexico’s second biggest trading partner, after the US and Canada.

One of Europe’s previously stated aims in the negotiations was to define more flexible rules of origin criteria, allowing products to benefit from lower customs tariffs.

Automotive manufacturers including Audi and VW are already well positioned to supply Europe from existing plants in Mexico, while Honda is already exporting its HR-V to the UK from the country. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also both planning new facilities there.