The agreement will allow the EU to have preferential access to the Mexican market for a range of cheeses with access for others, including cheddar, set within annual quotas.
Access for volumes of milk powder have also been secured. This starts from 30,000t per year and will rise to 50,000t after five years.
The agreement will allow the EU to increase its pork exports to Mexico, with duty-free trade for almost all pork products.
The new agreement will bring in revised rules to simplify paperwork and physical checks at Mexican customs.
Largest trading partner
Mexico has a population of 128m and is Ireland’s largest trading partner in Latin America. Irish trade to Mexico was worth over €1.7bn last year.
“Ireland is ideally placed to benefit from the removal of tariffs from goods and services to Mexico. This preliminary deal between the EU and Mexico is great news,” minister of state for trade and business Pat Breen said.
“Ireland is a significant exporter to Mexico of powdered milk and milk derivatives, the removal of tariffs should boost this trade significantly,” the Fine Gael TD added.
The negotiations for the new agreement with Mexico started in May 2016. This weekend’s announcement was unexpected for many as recent reports have suggested that the focus for Mexican officials was on concluding the NAFTA trade negotiations between the US, Canada and Mexico.
The European Commission has said the new EU-Mexico agreement has been reached in principle but some “technical details still need to be tied up”. It is expected that negotiations will be finalised by the end of the year in a full legal text.