Economic mission to Mexico: Strengthening good partnerships

The Economic Mission of the National Economic Secretariat (SECO) visited Mexico from March 14th to 17th, 2022.When Meetings between the Swiss-Mexico Advisory Group and representatives of the governments and private sector of both countries. Various other events with local authorities and representatives of Swiss companies have provided further learning about the country and its economic development.

Important business partners and potential untapped

On March 15, the Swiss and Mexican advisory groups met under the leadership of Secretary of State Marie Gabriel Ineichen Freish and Deputy Trade Minister Luz Maria de la Mora Sanchez of Mexico. Mexico is Switzerland’s second largest trading partner in Latin America after Brazil. The volume of bilateral trade fell somewhat to CHF 2.3 billion in 2020 as a result of the Covid crisis. However, the value of trade has begun to rise again. Switzerland is also the 12th direct investor in Mexico. The two countries are also working closely within international organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

During the meeting, representatives of the Swiss industry were able to present concrete suggestions for improving the terms of the framework. This, on the one hand, is to modernize free trade agreements. Meanwhile, participants also addressed concerns related to the regulatory requirements of Mexican authorities, such as the Federal Commission for Protection against Hygiene Risks (COFEPRIS). Finally, certain Mexican standards for market access, such as MEM products, were discussed.

Mexico is an attractive production area for Swiss companies due to its geographical location, diverse economies and extensive network of free trade agreements. These factors have been highlighted several times by various Swiss companies established in the country during the CEO’s breakfast hosted by the Swiss and Mexican Chambers of Commerce. Therefore, it justifies long-term commitment and investment in the site, despite certain challenges such as rising inflation.

EFTA-Modernization of Mexican Free Trade Agreement

EFTA member countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) have signed free trade agreements with Mexico since 2001. It provides a solid foundation for bilateral trade in commodities. However, the partially outdated rule means that not all exporters can take advantage of it. Therefore, the comprehensive modernization of the agreement is a top priority for the Swiss economy and negotiations have continued since 2016. During the consultation group’s meeting, the parties reaffirmed their political will to engage in constructive negotiations. From an economic point of view, the current issue is to conclude them as quickly as possible in a mutually beneficial way in order to deepen and further develop future bilateral relations.

Wide range of support for Swiss companies

The Swiss delegation spent the last two days of the mission in the city of Queretaro, near Mexico City. In recent years, the city has become an important industry and research site, especially in the fields of aviation, automobiles and viticulture. Several Swiss companies have set up production bases in the region. During this visit, and with its dynamic development, the Swiss-Mexico Chamber of Commerce has strengthened its presence in the Bajio region, to which Queretaro belongs. The Swiss Business Hub, integrated with the Swiss Embassy, ​​is also an important contact point for Swiss companies. This helps Swiss SMEs analyze their export potential in the Mexican market.