Mexico, Turkey speed up free trade negotiations

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (left), shaking hands with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry building in Mexico City on Feb 3, 2017.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (left), shaking hands with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry building in Mexico City on Feb 3, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Mexico and Turkey agreed on Friday (Feb 3) to speed up negotiations for a free trade agreement in the wake of protectionist threats from US President Donald Trump.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and his visiting Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said the two governments have held seven rounds of talks and will meet again in the coming weeks.

"We have agreed to give a faster impetus to the search for an agreement," Videgaray told reporters.

"Today, more than ever, Mexico is open to the world and Mexico wants to build and strengthen its trade and investment ties with every country that we are friends with, regardless of geographic distance," he said.

Cavusoglu said Turkey wants to "intensify talks" on free trade with Mexico.

He also proposed to strengthen the MIKTA forum, a political and trade forum that includes Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia.

"Together we will invest more efforts into making this forum more politically relevant, more effective and more visible," the Turkish minister said.

The United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), as demanded by Trump, who calls the pact a "catastrophe" for his country.

Faced with Trump's threat to leave Nafta if necessary, Latin America's second biggest economy is speeding up negotiations with the European Union and seeking to tighten trade bonds with other nations.