The European Union (EU) and Mexico say they are on track to conclude talks to update their Global Agreement, including rules on trade, by the end of the year.

In an update following the fifth round of negotiations in Brussels at the end of September, they said a total of 21 negotiating groups met, with discussions covering trade in goods, services, technical barriers to trade and sustainable development.  

"There were substantive discussions in all areas and negotiation groups," a statement said.

"The talks focused on the text proposals for the trade chapter as well as on the market access offers on goods, services and public procurement that were exchanged in July. Some groups advanced more than others but overall there was good progress."

Work will continue to advance during October, with the sixth round taking place in Mexico City from 25 November to 1 December.

"The objective remains to conclude a highly ambitious agreement by the end of the year."

The Global Agreement came into force in 1997 and sets out the rules on trade between the EU and Mexico. The agreement includes trade rules that were later developed into the current Free Trade Agreement that entered into force in October 2000.

Negotiations to update the Global Agreement began in May last year, with a view to better reflect changes to global trade patterns, as well as the fact that since it was signed the EU has added 13 new members, deepened its internal Single Market and launched a single currency.

With qualifying textiles and apparel, travel goods and footwear from Mexico benefiting from duty-free access to the EU market, textile and clothing trade is growing between the two sides. The most recent data shows textile exports from Mexico to the EU were rose 8.4% year-on-year in 2016 to EUR80m, while clothing exports jumped 11.6% to EUR88m.

Likewise, the EU exported textiles worth EUR369m to Mexico, a rise of 9.9% year-on-year, and clothing exports climbed 7.6% to EUR489m.

The timing of the talks comes as discussions are ongoing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal between the US, Mexico and Canada.