Mexican Senate calls for free-trade agreement with Cuba

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The Mexican Senate urged the government to expand economic ties with Cuba, including through signing of a free-trade agreement. The Senate prodded the foreign affairs ministry into creating a dialogue with Cuba, discussing topics ranging from a free-trade agreement, immigration, investment, oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, to collaboration in science and technology, Xinhua reported.

The Senate insisted that bilateral commercial ties "are growing ever stronger, and a free-trade agreement would facilitate the exchange of goods and services and the removal of duties to ensure larger commerce between both nations." Furthermore, the Senate was seeking to follow up on agreements signed between Mexico's Congress and Cuba's National Assembly in June 2015, covering matters related to energy, healthcare, education, the environment and tourism.

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Last November, Cuban President Raul Castro officially visited Mexico, where he signed a number of agreements with President Enrique Peña Nieto, involving immigration, academic exchanges, tourism and agriculture. While Cuba is only Mexico's 57th commercial partner, Mexico is the sixth-largest supplier to Cuba.

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According to official statistics, Mexico's exports to Cuba were worth US$ 362.2 million in 2015, but its imports from Cuba stood at US$ 11.6 million.

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