Mar 25

Belize has long recognized the importance of expanding trade and investment relations with Mexico. This cognizance was further pronounced during the State visit of the Prime Minister of Belize to Mexico in October, 2010. Consultations since 2010 have shown that there is general support for expanding trade and investment relations with Mexico in a manner that will allow for asymmetries in favour of Belize. The Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade, and Commerce, drawing on the increased interest of the public and private sector and the extensive level of cooperation and political dialogue between both countries; with approval from the Cabinet, engaged its counterpart Ministry in Mexico, The Ministry of the Economy, to begin negotiating towards a Partial Scope Agreement (PSA).

On March 3rd, 2014, a trade delegation from Belize met with a high-level team of officials from the Secretaría de Economía in Mexico City. The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on the General Framework and a Schedule for the negotiation a PSA between Belize and the Mexico. Consensus on these terms could not be reached, consequently an agreeable General Framework for Negotiations is still in the process of being established.

The General Framework will allow Belize the flexibility it needs to negotiate by detailing the scope, coverage and process for the negotiations. It covers subject areas such as: market access of goods, tariff preferences, non-tariff measures, rules of origin, customs cooperation and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade (TBT), sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and others. It should be understood that the General framework is not a legal instrument but rather sets out the general parameters for the negotiations.

Negotiations towards the establishment of a PSA would commence upon agreement of the Framework by both countries. Belize and Mexico have been actively communicating to finalize the General Framework which will support these negotiations.

Despite the absence of a PSA, Belize’s export trade with Mexico has increased by 41% from 2012 to 2015 [1]. The establishment of a PSA would allow domestic producers to trade an agreed set of goods on a less restrictive basis with Mexico. The Directorate General for Foreign Trade (DGFT) has continuously engaged the private sector and taken into account their stated interests in the Mexican market in order to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.

This proposed PSA will be Belize’s third bilateral trade agreement, i.e. after completing negotiations with El Salvador which began in 2012. The estimated gains as expected to far surpass those currently being experienced under the Belize-Guatemala PSA.

– Private Sector Consultations (2016)

[1] Statistical Institute of Belize