Merkel arrives in Mexico City for Pena Nieto talks

Updated: 09:51 GMT, Jun 10, 2017 | Published: 09:51 GMT, Jun 10, 2017 |

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto welcomed Chancellor Angela Merkel to Mexico City’s National Palace on Friday (June 09) in the second stop of her Latin America trip to talk up free trade deals between the EU and the region.

Mexico is currently in talks with the European Union to finalise a new trade deal with the 28-national bloc that will cut tariffs on industrial goods. Both sides have eyed 2017 to finalise the arrangements.

The election of U.S. President Donald Trump has reinforced Mexico’s need to reduce its reliance on the U.S. market and export-oriented Germany has been touted as a natural partner for a more global Mexico.

In recent years, Germany has been one of Mexico’s biggest investors. The EU superpower has opened up many factories for its vehicles in the Latin American country, seeking to take advantage of NAFTA to sell vehicles to Canada and the United States. There are nearly 2,000 German companies in Mexico employing some 120,000 people.

Berlin has warned against any re-drawing of NAFTA that will hurt German companies in Mexico.

Germany has also come under fire from Trump. Last month, the US president called Germany’s trade and spending policies “very bad”.

Merkel’s visit to Mexico coincides with final celebrations for the Mexico-Germany Dual Year, which has celebrated the cultural and economic relationship between the two allies.