1. What opportunities will the Agreement open for SMEs?
The Agreement includes a specific section on SMEs, in which both Parties undertake to provide a favorable environment for the development and improvement of the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises and to promote horizontal cooperation on industrial policy. This cooperation will consist of:
promoting contacts between economic operators, encouraging joint investments and establishing joint ventures and information networks through existing horizontal programs;
exchanging information and experiences on the creation of framework conditions for SMEs to improve their competitiveness and on the procedures related to the creation of SMEs;
facilitating the activities established by SMEs on both sides;
exchanging information and best practices on Industry 4.0; and
promoting corporate social responsibility and accountability and encouraging responsible business practices, including sustainable consumption and production.
2. What facilitation measures for customs procedures are included in the new Global Agreement?
A chapter of the new Agreement includes provisions that seek to simplify customs requirements, provide certainty to commercial operators by increasing the transparency of the applicable legislation, as well as the documents and formats that are required to import, export or maintain a product in transit through our territories.
Mexico and the European Union make a general commitment to maintain modern customs that seek to automate operations, maintain an adequate risk analysis and ensure that the dispatch of goods is carried out in the shortest possible time, taking care of the security of the supply chain through customs cooperation.
3. Investment protection: how will the new Investment Court System work?
The new agreement includes a complete chapter on investment protection, which details the conditions and guarantees under which companies may invest in our territories. Likewise, for the first time in Mexico, a tribunal for the resolution of disputes between investors and parties is included, made up of two instances and permanent arbitrators. Disputes regarding the respect of the investment protection provisions included in the EU-Mexico Agreement will be submitted to this court, whose procedures will be completely transparent. With this mechanism, the protection of foreign investments is guaranteed and their certainty is strengthened.
4. What will the Agreement do to promote exchanges of students, academics and researchers?
In the modernized Agreement, Mexico and the European Union commit to promote cooperation and dialogue in relevant areas of education. Therefore, they will seek:
To strengthen higher education and technical and professional education and training;
To increase the mobility of students, researchers, academics and administrative staff of higher education institutions; Y
To promote capacity building in higher education institutions, including the improvement of the mechanisms for recognition of qualifications and periods of study abroad.
5. What is the role of the Agreement in the promotion of Human Rights and gender equality?
In the Agreement, both Parties reaffirm their commitment to human rights and gender equality. There are specific articles on respect for democratic principles and human rights, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In addition, Mexico and the EU undertake to cooperate in the promotion and protection of human rights, including the ratification and application of international human rights instruments, and in strengthening democratic principles and the rule of law, promoting gender equality and combating discrimination in all its forms.
Among the cooperation elements that the Agreement provides are:
• fostering meaningful and broad-based human rights dialogue;
• supporting the development and implementation of action plans on human rights;
• promoting human rights, including through education and cooperation;
• strengthening national and regional institutions related to human rights;
• intensifying cooperation with the United Nations human rights treaty bodies and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council to implement its recommendations;
• enhancing cooperation within the human rights-related institutions of the United Nations and relevant regional and multilateral fora;
• strengthening their capacity to apply democratic principles and practices;
• strengthening effective, independent and transparent governance at local, national, regional and global levels, promoting accountability and transparency of institutions and supporting the participation of citizens and civil society;
• collaborating and coordinating, where appropriate and even in third countries, to reinforce democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law;
• promoting the universality of international human rights treaties and encouraging other states to fulfill their obligations in this area;
• working to prevent impunity for human rights violations.
It also establishes that corporate social responsibility must be promoted, in accordance with relevant international standards, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies.
6. What is the role of civil society in the Mexico-EU relationship?
The Agreement includes the participation of civil society and dialogue with the government on various issues: culture, security and justice, sustainable development, environment, climate change, energy and education, among others. In the Agreement, Mexico and the EU commit to establishing synergies with civil society organizations to complement the actions of the State in all matters.
7. What specific measures does the new Agreement include to ensure that the Parties comply with their international environmental commitments, particularly those contained in the Paris Agreement?
The Agreement incorporates a specific section on Environment and another on Climate Change. The Parties recognize the need to protect, preserve, restore and sustainably manage natural resources and biological diversity, including soil, land, forests, water, oceans, seas and marine resources, as a basis for a sustainable development that supports the needs of current and future generations. The Parties undertake to cooperate in mutually agreed priority areas on environmental protection, conservation, responsible and efficient use and sustainable management of natural resources, and on the mainstreaming of environmental considerations in all cooperation sectors, including international and regional contexts.
Regarding the fight against climate change, Mexico and the EU will work to strengthen their cooperation within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to implement the Paris Agreement and its nationally determined contributions, as well as to invite other countries to do so and develop their development strategies with low greenhouse gas emissions.