The EU and Mexico agreed Monday to update a free trade accord sealed in 2000 to bring it into line with benchmark deals negotiated with Canada and the United States.
Mexico is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement which Washington pushed through in 1994 to set the model for others to follow.
The European Union in turn has just concluded a pact with Canada and is in tough talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) accord with the United States, which would be the biggest single free trade agreement in the world.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said the 2000 pact with Mexico had boosted trade, investment and economic growth for both parties but the world has moved on.
"Our agreement has removed mostly tariff barriers and now our businesses face other types of barriers that we need to tackle," Malmstroem said after talks with Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo in Brussels.
"Our agreement needs to adapt to a new reality ... We will make the modernised EU-Mexico trade agreement comparable to our deal with Canada and to what TTIP will become," she said.
"The EU and Mexico will want to consolidate all this new openness in North America. The closer our modernised deal is to those high standards, the easier that will be," she added.
Guajardo said it was important for Mexico to keep up with the EU as the 28-nation bloc tied up deals with Canada and the United States, the country's two main trading partners.
The last figures available show the EU exported $43 billion worth of goods to Mexico in 2013 and imported $20 billion.