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De Gucht Urges EU, Mexico to Tackle Trade Barriers on Services

The European Union and Mexico should look for ways to go “much further” to remove barriers to services commerce, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said.

Agriculture trade also could improve if the EU and Mexico are able to update existing agreements, De Gucht said in a speech to a business summit in Queretaro, Mexico. He also affirmed the EU’s intent to ink other North American deals.

“I expect to conclude a comprehensive agreement with Canada very soon,” De Gucht said. “Even more crucially, it is possible that we will start talks for a deep free trade agreement with the United States, if our leaders agree on this in the New Year.”

While De Gucht was in Mexico, EU companies called for increased effort to hammer out better trade terms with Japan. BusinessEurope, a federation of employers, today sent to De Gucht and EU President Herman Van Rompuy a list of non-tariff barriers that they said hamper their operations.

Japan has “numerous restrictions and regulatory privileges” that make it hard for companies from other nations to gain market access, the employers group said. Legal investment barriers, such as limits on mergers and acquisitions, and “opaque” government contract rules also hurt EU companies, the trade group said.

The EU supports the wish list from the employers group, as talks begin toward an EU-Japan free trade agreement, John Clancy, a spokesman for De Gucht, said by an e-mail. “This is in line as we always aim for deep and ambitious FTAs.”

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