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Jan 20, 2016

Is a Partial Scope Free Trade Agreement Next for Belize and Mexico?

Carlos Quesnel Melendez

The contraband of goods into Mexico from Belize and from Belize into Mexico is a thriving trade. The Commercial Free Zone is an area of particular concern. It is known that cigarettes and other goods enter the zone and eventually make it into the Mexican market.  Contrabandistas are also known to use the Rio Hondo for illegal activities. According to Ambassador Quesnal, several legal instruments will be negotiated in 2016 to curb the illegal trade. The most important is a partial scope free trade agreement which would increase official trade and investments between both countries.

 

Carlos Quesnel Melendez, Mexican Ambassador to Belize

“We are working together to fight contraband, but I am confident that if we go on with the signatory of a free trade agreement that would give benefits. If we avert contraband of cigarettes and many other products; you know that there are countries with also the contraband of cattle and if we open the market in the sectors that are convenient for both countries, I am sure that contraband will be automatically decreased in both countries. That is why we are working so hard to negotiate the partial scope freed trade agreement. You are touching a very important issue and we in Mexico are aware that there is the smuggling of many things through the Rio Hondo. I can tell you that the Minister of Defense in Mexico is working very hard in that area as well as the secretary in Mexico to deploy more elements. We certainly don’t have the capacity to cover all the areas…it’s a big area. We are in touch with the Belizean government in how to provide equipment, even constructing some facilities to try to help the Belizean authorities to fight criminal illegal activities. As you may know this is going to be a year of austerity and lack of resources for Mexico and so we are thinking and having instructions from our bosses in Mexico to look for new opportunities for cooperation with other countries and international organizations that could be part of the solution. The Belizean authorities are working together in the exchange of information for better combating, better fighting this problem. I would say that we have increased this relationship and I commend the efforts done by the Mexican and the Belizean authorities especially in the exchange of information, but also in supporting Belize to increase its fleet by constructing the vessels that will be working in the territorial waters of Belize to protect the Belizean security and sovereignty.”

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