British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will visit Mexico on Thursday to seek its continued support for the UK to join a Trans-Pacific trade pack, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said.
The newly appointed foreign secretary is travelling from New York, where she represented the UK at the U.N. General Assembly along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
As hopes to seal a U.S.–UK free trade agreement (FTA) fell through, the UK government is now focusing on trade deals with other Western partners as well as finding its way to the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the FCDO, Truss is expected to discuss plans to develop a new, updated UK-Mexico FTA; open a new British embassy building; and seek Mexico’s continued support for Britain’s accession into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“Closer ties with Mexico are a key part of our plan to strengthen economic, security, and diplomatic links with like-minded allies who share our belief in free enterprise and free trade,” the foreign secretary said in a statement.
“A trade deal with Mexico, for example, will pave the way for us to join the CPTTP, one of the world’s biggest free trade areas,” she added.
“Our relationship with Mexico has huge potential. It could open vast new opportunities for businesses, support jobs across Britain, and help ensure we play a key role in an open and dynamic Indo-Pacific.”
Truss is also expected to visit an AstraZeneca vaccine bottling site and attend a dinner with celebrity British-Mexican chef Fernando Stovell to “celebrate British food.”
CPTPP is a landmark 11-country trade deal that includes Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, and Peru.
The UK started exploring CPTPP membership in 2018 in the hope of stimulating exports after Brexit.
Truss applied for a British membership on Feb. 1 when she was the minister for international trade, and in June the CPTPP announced that the accession process would begin.
The UK’s exploration of business ties in the Indo-Pacific region echos the government’s new Integrated Review of security, defence, development, and foreign policy, which said the UK is pivoting toward the region “in support of mutually-beneficial trade, shared security, and values.”
On Sept. 16, China has also filed an application to join the CPTPP, followed by Taiwan four days later.