Mr. President, allow me to take the floor, for the first time at an EPC, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and to welcome the Mexican delegation under the leadership of the Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Luz María From La Mora. Thanks to the Mexican federal government and the WTO for their reports. Allow me also to thank the Chair and our distinguished panellist, Clare Kelly, for kindly facilitating this Trade Policy Review and providing us with such an instructive basis for our discussions.
In our written questions for this exam, we wanted to deepen our understanding of Mexico’s regulatory framework in areas such as intellectual property, domestic regulatory bodies and agencies, government procurement regime, trade in services, and SPS measures. This wide range of issues covering a panoply of themes is an indication of the range of opportunities available to Mexican and UK businesses through the acceleration of our bilateral trade.
Mr. Speaker, this review includes a period of acute global economic instability. We are therefore pleased to welcome the positive measures taken by the Mexican federal government to mitigate these shocks, in particular through the expansion of services for the digitization of administrative procedures for agri-food imports and exports.
It is encouraging to see that in times of economic stress, actions such as these demonstrate that opportunities can be found, including digital ones, that can accelerate best practices and improve the free trade environment. This also builds on previous efforts to reform customs procedures, as identified during Mexico’s last TPR, in 2017.
In this review, the then President highlighted in her concluding remarks Members’ concerns that Mexico’s trade relied heavily on a single export market, noting the need to diversify. During the period under review, Mexico has indeed implemented some of the suggestions made to address this issue, including strengthening economic ties with different trading partners.
To that same end, the UK was pleased to sign a Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA) with Mexico which came into effect on June 1 last year. We look forward to delivering our factual presentation to the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements next month
To realize the full potential of our trade relationship, Mexico and the UK launched negotiations in London on May 20 of this year to conclude a more modern and comprehensive bilateral FTA. As Mexico has highlighted in its report for this review, we have agreed to modernize rules on investment and intellectual property, and to include innovative provisions on SMEs, gender equality and innovation, among others. We look forward to bringing this deal to fruition as soon as possible and enabling our businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities the FTA should provide to grow their businesses and generate prosperity for British and Mexican citizens.
As others have noted, Mexico has also signed agreements with the United States, Canada, and the EU, and signed the entry into force of the CPTPP. As the Secretariat acknowledges in its report, these and other preferential trade agreements testify to the importance that regionalism plays in Mexico’s trade relations.
In 2017, Members also encouraged Mexico to join plurilateral agreements, including the GPA. We would welcome Mexico indicating progress on this key plurilateral agreement.
Allow me to acknowledge Mexico’s support for the ITAG Inclusive Trade Action Group and the Global Gender and Trade Arrangement (GTAGA), as well as its participation in the Informal Working Group of the WTO on trade and gender equality. All of these important initiatives are helping to increase women’s economic empowerment through better business opportunities, a goal the UK fully shares with Mexico.
Through our Embassy in Mexico City, the UK has been pleased to work with Mexico to develop a methodology to measure the pay gap in Mexico and help identify a remedy. This is ongoing and important work, and we encourage Mexico to continue to advance the actions necessary to reap the full fruit of Mexico’s ambitions in this area.
On transparency, like others, the UK notes that less than 200 measures have been recorded by Mexico in the WTO trade monitoring database, a low level of notification in relative terms and absolutes. The median member of the G20 notifies about 400 measures. Notifications and transparency obligations are, we all recognize, the cornerstone of the current success of the WTO, and we therefore encourage Mexico to continue its efforts to ensure maximum levels of transparency regarding notifications.
Furthermore, recent data suggests that out of 257 policy intervention measures in place, 69% (or 177 of them) are restrictive rather than facilitative. As such, the UK encourages Mexico to pursue balanced trade policies.
As the Secretariat report indicates, Mexico is working to unlock the untapped potential of its economy. Export diversification and the spread of regional export opportunities have significant potential to achieve this, expanding the benefits of free trade globally and contributing to an improved and strengthened international trading system, it is in our interest to all. The UK looks forward to working with its Mexican partners to help make the most of these opportunities.
Finally, Madam Chair, we would like to thank the delegation of Mexico for their fruitful engagement in this important transparency exercise and wish them a successful 7th Trade Policy Review and thank the distinguished PR and the excellent team of the WTO.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.