The European Union and Mexico announced late last week that they had reached an agreement in principle to update their 18-year-old bilateral trade agreement. The new deal would remove duties for all agricultural goods, offer protections for some EU cheese names and create Mexican tariff-rate quotas for EU milk powder and cheese. While EU negotiators said the agreement secures protections for 340 geographical indications (GIs), a full list of affected products has not been released. IDFA expects the final text to be completed by the end of the year.

IDFA continues to research the agreement and will share more details when available.


The agreement would give new market access to the EU by introducing tariff-rate quotas for EU cheese exports to Mexico. During a five-year period, Mexico would gradually raise a quota of 20,000 tons for mature cheeses and 5,000 tons for fresh cheeses.

By comparison, U.S. dairy companies shipped 96,000 metric tons of cheese to Mexico during the past year.

IDFA continues to fight European Union attempts to use GI protections to limit fair competition from cheese, wine and meat producers around the world. The Consortium for Common Food Names, of which IDFA is a founding member, objected last fall to a list of GIs that the Mexican government said it might allow in the new pact, including asiago, feta, gorgonzola, mozzarella and parmesan. IDFA also joined the coalition in urging the U.S. government to act against the EU’s efforts to monopolize cheese terms and block market access through the agreement.

Milk Powder

The EU said that it would secure 30,000 tons of milk powder exports in the Mexican market if the agreement goes into effect. That amount would rise to 50,000 tons after five years. This quota represents new market access for the EU in Mexico.

In addition, Mexico’s tariff on EU infant formula would fall to 50 percent of its most-favored nation rate five years after the agreement would go into effect.

By comparison, the United States exported 289,000 metric tons of milk powder to Mexico in 2017.

Read “EU-Mexico Modernised agreement- The agreement in principle.”

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at