The International Trade Secretary today launches negotiations on a new UK-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (FTA) alongside her Mexican counterpart, Tatiana Clouthier, in London.

Negotiating a ‘Mexico 2.0’ deal would transform the UK’s relationship with the world’s 16th biggest economy and secure a brand new, enhanced FTA for a digital age, which supports hi-tech jobs, industries of the future and grows our economy.

Mexico is a major market for UK exporters. Its expanding population means demand for imports is set to grow by 35 per cent by 2035. It is in a strategically situated part of the world, serving as a gateway to the Americas as well as to the dynamic trans-Pacific region.

UK negotiators will look to go further and deeper in areas like services and technology, boosting a trade relationship already worth over £4 billion. The agreement could increase trade flows across the financial, creative, digital and technology services sectors thanks to advanced services provisions, boosting the UK’s already world-leading services industries.

It is the third major FTA negotiation launched by Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan this year – following visits to kick off talks in India in January and Canada in March.

Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “This enhanced deal would transform our relationship with Mexico, making the most of the immense opportunities its dynamic business landscape and young, growing population offer.

“From autonomous vehicle manufacturers in the West Midlands, to Wales’ green tech businesses and Scotland’s thriving food and drink sector, companies of all shapes and sizes across the UK stand to benefit.

“Trade deals like this are vital to growing the economy to address the cost of living, as they support jobs, help businesses thrive and spur investment. We’ve already kickstarted negotiations with India and Canada and are close to joining the CPTPP free trade area, with a combined GDP of £9 trillion, of which Mexico is a key member.”

The UK is aiming for a dedicated chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that would knock down sector-specific barriers, cutting costs and paperwork for SMEs looking to export.

Through this FTA, the UK will seek to make buying and selling goods and services online and product standards recognition processes smoother, helping British businesses expand more quickly and supporting jobs.

The UK will also aim to lock in tariff reductions of £57 million per year secured under existing agreements, ensuring tariff-free trade on 97 per cent of UK goods.

Easing the movement of workers between the two countries will also be looked at.

Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes said: “We welcome the launch of the UK-Mexico trade talks. The continuation of tariff-free trade between the UK and Mexico will support both the growth of Scotch exports and the important Tequila category.”

CBI President Lord Bilimoria said: “The Government did a remarkable job securing the continuity agreement with Mexico. There is now a phenomenal opportunity to strengthen our existing economic ties including in services, digital, and investment.

“International trade is the foundation for economic growth. With exporters among the UK’s most profitable and innovative businesses, firms up and down the country should be seizing on the huge untapped potential globally. Finding new opportunities in emerging markets such as Mexico will be key to that success.”

The UK’s current trade agreement with Mexico is based on the EU-Mexico Global Agreement, negotiated over 20 years ago.