(Dec. 21, 2011) On December 5, 2011, the Presidents of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras and the Secretaries of Foreign Relations of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica signed a Free Trade Agreement among all of these countries. The Mexican Secretary of Commerce indicated that the agreement aims to increase and facilitate commerce among the signatory parties, as it harmonizes trade rules that will allow companies to reduce costs while exporting and importing in the region. (Press Release, No. 283/11, El TLC entre México y Centroamérica permitirá construir una visión común para enfrentar los retos de la economía global (Dec. 5, 2011), Mexican Department of the Economy website.)
The agreement, which required seven rounds of negotiations that concluded in October 2011, covers rules applicable to trade in goods, investments, services, intellectual property, and dispute resolution. (Press Release, No. 269/11, México y Centroamérica suscriben Tratado de Libre Comercio (Nov. 22, 2011), Mexican Department of the Economy website.)
The agreement was signed at the Thirteenth Summit of the Group Tuxtla and unifies Mexico's separate Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries of the region into a single trade agreement that promotes economic development. The Tuxtla Group is made up of Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic; it was created in 1991 as a forum for articulating shared projects.
Specifically, the new agreement affects Mexico's individual FTAs with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras). The new treaty must be ratified by the legislatures of each country. (Unifica México TLC con Centroamérica, REFORMA (Dec. 6, 2011), available by subscription.)