MEXICO CITY: The leaders of Mexico and Brazil agreed to expand a trade accord they hope will double business between the two biggest Latin American economies over the next 10 years.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met in Mexico City and signed agreements to promote trade and investment.
Mr. Peña Nieto said the agreements were what he termed a “qualitative leap” in bilateral relations. The two countries will add agricultural and industrial products to their 2002 economic cooperation agreement and will expand it to include services, electronic commerce and intellectual property rights, Mr. Peña Nieto added.
Ms. Rousseff said discussions over details of expanding the trade pact will begin in July, with a view to taking it from just over 800 products to more than 6,000. The aim is to double annual bilateral trade from the current $9.2 billion within the next decade.
Mexico exported $4.74 billion worth of goods to Brazil in 2014, and imported $4.47 billion in merchandise from Brazil. After years of Mexican deficits in the bilateral trade, the balance turned in Mexico’s favor in 2011.
Increased Mexican automotive exports to Brazil led the South American country to seek a revision of the 2002 trade agreement in 2012, which led to the negotiation of quotas capping Mexican exports for three years. The agreement was extended in March of this year, with the quotas expected to rise each year until free trade in the auto sector is established in 2019.
Ms. Rousseff welcomed the March agreement, which she said allowed for “greater growth and balance in those exchanges.”
Brazil last year registered a $3.9 billion overall global trade deficit, its first in 14 years, as prices of commodities such as sugar and soybeans fell, and global demand for iron ore softened. Mexico, which exports mostly manufactured goods, had an overall trade deficit of $2.4 billion, affected by lower oil export prices.
Brazil’s overall trade last year totaled $454 billion, including imports and exports. Mexico’s trade totaled almost $800 billion.