EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo concluded the seventh round of negotiation for a new free trade agreement (FTA) last week.

The latest set of talks finished on December 21. Contrary to what had been anticipated by the two sides, they could not reach a political conclusion before the end of this year.

According to the European Commission the negotiating teams discussed all areas of the agreement. They managed to finalise the work on a number of issues, including on competition, SMEs, transparency, good regulatory practices, and trade and sustainable development. The negotiations also covered the revised market access offers for goods, which was exchanged after the sixth round of negotiations.

Nevertheless, despite this important progress there is still a need for further work on a number of issues. According to media reports, the most contentious outstanding issues include geographical indications and investment protection.

At the end of the round, the teams agreed to stay in continuous contact and to meet again soon after the winter break, with precise dates to be decided.