Mexico, Central America agree on free trade
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico reached a free-trade agreement with Guatemala,
El Salvador and Honduras Thursday, after eight years of negotiations.
The agreement calls for trade barriers to be dismantled over 11 years for
industrial products and 12 years for agricultural products.
Mexican Commerce Secretary Herminio Blanco said the agreement covers
industrial goods, services, investment protection, intellectual property and
Officials from the four countries reached the agreement after settling
over Mexican exports of beer and steel. If ratified by the Mexican Senate and the
legislatures of the three Central American countries, the accord will take effect
on January 1.
In an effort to wean itself from dependence on the United States, Mexico
recently reached free trade agreements with the European Union and Israel. It
already has free trade pacts with the United States, Canada, Chile, Colombia,
Venezuela, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Mexico does most of its trading with the United States, the focus of 83
of Mexican trade last year.