Concluding remarks by the Chairperson


  • Trade Policy Review: Mexico


This seventh Trade Policy Review has provided an excellent opportunity to review the main developments in, and challenges of, Mexico's trade and investment policies since its last Review in 2017. I would like to thank Undersecretary for Foreign Trade at the Secretariat of Economy, the Hon. Ms Luz María de la Mora Sánchez, who has travelled from Mexico, and Ambassador Ángel Villalobos and the rest of the Mexican delegation for their active engagement in this Review. I would also like to thank our discussant, Ambassador Clare Kelly of New Zealand, for her valuable contribution.

Members attach great importance to Mexico as a global trading partner, as evidenced by the more than 800 questions received and the 43 delegations that took the floor on the first day. Members have greatly appreciated Mexico's written responses to the questions received, and we look forward to receiving the outstanding responses no later than one month after today's meeting.

Members noted that Mexico's GDP had contracted as a result of the negative effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic, and that the authorities had responded by implementing measures to cater above all to the most affected families and businesses, particularly SMEs. Mexico did not implement substantial aid packages, preferring to stay on the path of fiscal and financial stability. Members were encouraged to learn that economic growth had resumed in 2021, underpinned mainly by a rapid recovery in Mexico's foreign trade, which had contracted during the pandemic.

Mexican merchandise trade continues to be dominated by manufactured products, which represent more than 85% of total merchandise trade. As at the time of the last Review, Members noted that Mexico remains highly dependent on one single market, and again advised Mexico to diversify its markets by using its large number of preferential agreements.

Members welcomed Mexico's active role at the WTO and highlighted the importance it attaches to a well-functioning rules-based international trading system. They stressed that Mexico's commitment to the promotion and advancement of the WTO is evidenced by its active contribution to all aspects of the WTO's work, for instance, through participation in the Joint Statement Initiatives on Services Domestic Regulation, E-commerce, and Investment Facilitation, as well as in the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions.

Members appreciated Mexico's notification record but encouraged it to fulfil pending notification obligations, including in agriculture. Mexico's participation in the Multi-Party Interim Appeal‑Arbitration Arrangement was commended. Mexico was encouraged to join the plurilateral Agreements on Information Technology and Government Procurement. On gender issues, Members appreciated Mexico's efforts to include women in trade and encouraged further strengthening of women's economic empowerment.

Members took note of the representative of Mexico's observations regarding the importance of FDI to the economy and the commitment to an open, stable, rules-based FDI regime. Nonetheless, they showed concern about the deterioration of the investment climate. Concerns were expressed relating to the increasing legal uncertainty regarding investment, and with respect to some measures taken, particularly in the energy sector.

Members urged Mexico to apply its laws in a transparent manner as not to undermine confidence in its business environment, and to further liberalize the FDI regime. Members stressed that improving the legal and administrative environment could further unlock business potential and increase the competitiveness of the Mexican economy.

Members welcomed the establishment of Mexico's National Trade Facilitation Committee and noted the adoption of measures to simplify customs procedures.

Nevertheless, some Members observed that there is still room to engage in further efforts to reduce import procedures that may prove costly or burdensome, such as the need to appoint a customs broker, a customs agency, or a legal representative to handle customs clearance.

Regarding the applied tariff, Members noted that the average MFN applied tariff rate had increased and encouraged Mexico to further reduce tariffs, notably for agricultural goods. As regards other non-tariff measures, further information was sought on the criteria for the economic analysis used to determine the need to impose import restrictions. Some Members expressed concerns regarding the use of regulatory measures, for instance, the way SPS and TBT measures are applied.

Concerns were also raised about the use of trade remedies, in particular the application and renewal of anti-dumping measures. In the area of government procurement, Members urged Mexico to continue its efforts and to progress further in opening up its markets to foreign enterprises.

Mexico was commended for making important changes to its intellectual property rights legislation, which had enhanced protection and transparency, and was invited to further strengthen enforcement of IPRs.

On sectoral policies, Members noted Mexico's agricultural policy objective of guaranteeing food security by increasing productivity while implementing sustainable environmental practices. They also referred to the fact that tariffs on agricultural products are substantially higher than those on non-agricultural products, as well as to the various support programmes, their scope and effectiveness.

Members noted that at the time of the last Review, Mexico had undertaken comprehensive structural reforms covering several sectors, such as energy, financial services, and telecommunications. In the course of the present Review, several Members raised concerns regarding changes in the investment environment, in particular in the energy sector, that in their view limited competition. In general, Members urged Mexico to further open its market to foreign investment, in particular in the area of services.

In her statement just now, Ms de la Mora Sánchez has responded comprehensively to the major queries and concerns raised by Members. We look forward to Mexico's replies to all outstanding questions in a month's time, which will then mark the successful conclusion of this Trade Policy Review.

In closing, I would like to point out that as in the previous Review, Members were heartened that Mexico has taken TPRs so seriously, as evidenced by the many responses it provided. Members thanked Mexico for its engagement in the multilateral system, and given its importance, encouraged it to become even more active.

Finally, I would like to thank the delegation of Mexico both here and in the capital, the discussant, all delegations that participated, and the Secretariat for this fruitful review of Mexico's trade policies.



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