UK trade minister visits Mexico, targeting new deals

Weekly cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street, in London
FILE PHOTO-British Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch walks outside Number 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain November 8, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Britain's trade minister Kemi Badenoch begins a two-day visit to Mexico on Thursday, targeting a bilateral trade deal as well as Britain's accession to a Pacific trading association as the country builds its trade ties after leaving the European Union.

Britain is targeting an Indo-Pacific tilt in its foreign and trade policy, and is aiming to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Mexico is already a member.

Last May, Britain and Mexico also launched talks over a bilateral free trade deal, looking to add services to its current agreement.

"I'm here to push progress on two significant post-Brexit wins that will not only benefit British businesses, but also show what the UK has to offer CPTPP countries," Badenoch said in a statement.

Badenoch, who became Business and Trade Secretary this week after a reorganisation of government departments expanded her trade brief, undertook her first trip in the broader role on Wednesday, signing an export and investment partnership with Italy.

Amid criticism that Britain's departure from the EU, its biggest trading partner, has damaged its trade performance, the government is seeking to bolster its ties to faster growing economies around the world.

It has opened free trade agreement negotiations with India as part of its Indo-Pacific shift, and has signed trade deals with Australia and New Zealand.

Badenoch's department said that the bilateral deal with Mexico would aim to include provisions on services, which would benefit the finance and tech sectors, as well as a dedicated trade and gender equality chapter.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Alex Richardson

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