EU, Mexico play trump card on trade

New trade agreement highlights opening of Hannover Messe 2018.
By Bob Vavra, CFE Media April 23, 2018
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chat before the opening of Hannover Messe 2018 in Germany on Sunday night. Image Courtesy: Hannover MesseWithout mentioning the United States or its leaders by name, Mexico and the European Union announced the framework for a new trade deal at Hannover Messe’s opening ceremonies on Sunday, April 22. The deal with Mexico and the EU, which is similar to ones signed with Japan and Canada, is reported to virtually eliminate tariffs on products exported between the two trading partners.
In welcoming Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto to Hannover to lead the delegation for Mexico’s role as Partner Country at Hannover Messe 2018, German chancellor Angela Merkel celebrated the trade deal and laid out her expectations for future agreements—both with the European Union, and for trade deals as a whole.
“The technical work should take place quickly now but it’s really good news for Europe, for Germany and for Mexico,” Merkel said. “We believe multilateral cooperation can add value for everyone and that’s why we’re advocating global trade that is as free as possible and which is based on common rules.” 
Two years ago, when Merkel welcomed Barack Obama as head of the United States Partner Country delegation at Hannover, relations on trade and business were warm between the two nations and negotiations were underway on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Merkel, who will travel to Washington on Friday to meet with President Donald Trump, who has criticized the EU in general and Germany in particular over trade issues, and has also been critical of past regional trade deals.
One of those pacts is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is being renegotiated. Pena Nieto sounded an optimistic note over the future of NAFTA in his opening ceremony remarks.
“We fully trust and we have optimism as well that we’re going to be concluding the renegotiation, modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement with North America, as I have said, ensuring benefits for all its partners,” he said.
Besides all the trade talk, Mexico took center stage to present its cultural entertainment for more than 3,000 dignitaries and members of the global trade press that attended the opening ceremonies. The presentation was a bow to both Mexico’s Aztec heritage and its campaign to position itself as a major player on the manufacturing and technology stage.
The annual Hermes Award for innovation bypassed two augmented reality (AR) platforms and presented the award to Endress+Hauser for its hygienic compact thermometer featuring a self-calibrating sensor for process temperature measurements. 
Washington, D.C.-based Upskill was one of five nominees for the Hermes Award. It received the rare nomination for a U.S. company for its Skylight AR system, which offers a more turnkey approach to AR in industrial settings for training and operations.
Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media, bvavra@cfemedia.com.