UK-Mexico agreement calls for protection of agricultural sectors, says NFU

The United Nations said in a statement that the United States had “significant protections” in the use of fruits, vegetables, beef and sugar.

The two countries have begun negotiations on a new free trade agreement that will replace the ‘roll over’ agreement after Brexit.

97% of UK exports are already eligible to enter Mexico duty-free, and most UK food products are subject to tariffs.

Still, UK food and beverages cost an average of more than 6 136 million between 2019 and 2021.

The first round of talks will take place in Mexico City in July, according to a joint statement issued by Trade Minister Anne-Marie Trevellian and her Mexican counterpart Tatiana Clautier.

Following this, a second round of negotiations will be held throughout the year, with the aim of establishing a new free trade agreement within two years.

NFU, which seeks feedback from Mexican agronomists, said the new trade agreement could provide opportunities to increase the quality of British food exports.

In particular, the union said, negotiators could do more to ensure that improved dairy products and pork reach the Mexican market.

However, Mexico is a major exporter of agricultural products, and caution is needed for sectors, especially beef, sugar, eggs and vegetables.

NFU President Minnet Batters described the United Kingdom as a ‘respectable market’ for Mexican agricultural exporters.

Although our agro-food trade with Mexico is small, there are great opportunities for British farmers to export more quality produce.

“For example, we know that there is a demand for British milk and meat, especially pork.

“Precautions are needed in this case, such as vegetables, fruits, beef, eggs and sugar,” she added.

Mexico is a member of the 11-nation trade group CPTPP (General and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), and is seeking to join the UK at the same time.

It is unclear whether the bilateral trade agreement will be signed first between the UK and Mexico or whether the UK will enter into a CPTPP before the completion of these bilateral negotiations.

In any case, NFU says it is important to ensure that the UK does not pay double in terms of providing preferred market access in both negotiations, and the same goes for UK negotiations with Canada.

Farmers with experience or knowledge of the Mexican agricultural industry will be asked to send an email to samuel.williamson@nfu.org.uk.

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