July 27, 2017 / 2:26 PM / 2 years ago

UK targets preferential trade terms with Mexico after Brexit

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox speaks during an interview with Reuters at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico and Britain have begun informal talks on an agreement to maintain Britain’s preferential trade deal with Mexico after Brexit, British international trade secretary Liam Fox said on Thursday.

Fox also told reporters on a visit to Mexico City that he hoped Mexico and the European Union (EU) would press ahead with concluding their updated free trade agreement.

Fox said he and Mexican economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo have began a dialogue aimed at ensuring “that the preferential agreements that the U.K. currently enjoys with Mexico remain in place.”

The British government supports the “ambitious and speedy outcome” to the free trade talks between Mexico and the European Union, Fox said, and will later undertake a process to adopt the deal so it also applies to Mexico-British trade post-Brexit.

“In other words, we will replicate (the Mexico-EU) agreement into U.K. law so that as we leave the European Union there is no disruption to the trading environment,” Fox said.

He said that he would like to see topics such as e-commerce added to an updated Mexico-United Kingdom trade deal, which would go beyond what EU and Mexican negotiators have discussed.

Fox did not detail the timeline for future trade talks.

Mexico’s economy ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the two trade ministers discussed “options to strengthen and expand” economic ties between the two nations, but did not go into further detail.

Last year, the United Kingdom was Mexico’s fifth largest trade partner within the European Union, with bilateral trade totaling $5.36 billion, according to the economy ministry.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Grant McCool

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