The European Union (EU) and Mexico have agreed on an upgrade to their 15-year-old free trade deal.

As part of a broader, modernised EU-Mexico Global Agreement, the new agreement on trade means practically all trade in goods between the EU and Mexico will now be duty-free, including in the agricultural sector.

It will also offer simpler customs procedures, lays down progressive rules on sustainable development – and will be the first EU trade agreement to tackle corruption in the private and public sectors.

"In less than two years the EU and Mexico have delivered a deal fit for the economic and political challenges of the 21st century. We now open a new chapter in our long and fruitful relationship, boosting trade and creating jobs," says EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

Since the previous EU-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) came into force in 2000, trade between the EU and Mexico has risen at a rate of around 8% per year, resulting in an overall increase of 148% in trade in goods over the period.

Despite these positive results, there was still a wide margin for improving the trade relationship that the new agreement is addressing, by making virtually all trade in goods duty-free.

Qualifying textiles and apparel, travel goods and footwear from Mexico already benefit from duty-free access to the EU market, with  "fabric-forward" rules of origin meaning that fibres and yarns may be produced anywhere, but everything from the fabric onwards used to make a garment must be formed within the free trade area.

Textile and clothing trade is growing between the two sides, with the value of EU apparel imports from Mexico reaching EUR89.1m in 2017, accounting for around 0.06% of total EU's apparel imports that year.

The new EU-Mexico Global Agreement still needs to be finalised and approved, with the full legal text expected by the end of the year.

The Commission will then proceed with the legal verification and translation of the agreement into all official EU languages, and will subsequently submit it for approval by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union.