HC Deb 11 February 1998 vol 306 c249W
Mr. Fitzpatrick

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's relations with Mexico. [28642]

Mr. Doug Henderson

Relations with Mexico have strengthened since President Zedillo came to office in December 1994 and a bilateral Joint Action Plan was signed in January 1996.

As a member of NAFTA, the OECD and APEC, Mexico is an important partner for the UK on a range of international issues. Our dialogue includes thorough exchanges on human rights.

The UK is the second largest foreign investor in Mexico; major investors in 1997 include BAT ($1.1 bn) and BOC (Gases), leading a consortium which will build a $1 bn nitrogen plant. Mexico is our third largest export market in Latin America. Exports grew by 35% in 1997, but we have less than 1% of the market.

We have consistently supported the development of closer EU/Mexico relations. Following the signature of the EU/Mexico Agreement last December, we are using our EU Presidency to lay the groundwork for negotiations on trade liberalisation.