(Adds detail from Rousseff on Pemex and Petrobras)
By Alexandra Alper
MEXICO CITY, May 26 (Reuters) - Mexico and Brazil will take steps this year to ease restrictions on bilateral trade and aim to double their shared commerce in less than 10 years, the leaders of Latin America’s two biggest economies said on Tuesday.
During a visit to Mexico City, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in a speech that talks would begin in July in an effort to increase the range of products included in a joint trade agreement known as ACE 53 from just over 800 to more than 6,000.
The wider accord would aim to cover industrial and agricultural goods and would include new chapters relating to services, online commerce and intellectual property, among others, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto said at the same event.
“Today, we’re taking a qualitative leap in relations between Brazil and Mexico,” Pena Nieto said.
Speaking through a translator, Rousseff later said Mexican state-run oil company Pemex “would be very welcome in Brazil.” Brazil’s Petrobras could also help Pemex with deep water exploration technology in the Gulf of Mexico, she added.
At the start of 2013, Mexico and Brazil said they would consider cooperation between Pemex and Petrobras, but so far the two have not embarked on any joint projects.
Pena Nieto said he hoped the latest efforts would help the two Latin American nations double bilateral trade in less than a decade, up from about $9.2 billion currently.
The two nations also signed deals to step up economic cooperation and investment. The latter would give investors from either country greater safeguards and was the first of its kind signed by Brazil in the Americas, Pena Nieto said.
Further agreements were signed to promote tourism and environmental cooperation, he added.
Bilateral trade between the two has had a bumpy ride in recent years, with Brasilia in 2012 pushing through an auto sales quota to protect its car industry, a quota that was due to expire this year. Mexico had hoped for a return to free trade but instead bowed to Brazilian demands to extend quotas until 2019. (Additional reporting by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein and Dave Graham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Ken Wills)