The Senate has approved an initial tariff-free quota of 5,000 tons annually for imports of powdered milk from Uruguay to Mexico under a modification of the terms of the 2004 bilateral free trade agreement.

The quota can be increased by 500 tons annually as long as exports in the prior year totaled less than 80 percent of the total amount up to a limit of 11,000 tons annually.

Mexico already purchases powdered milk from the United States and Colombia.

Bilateral trade has quadrupled since the free trade agreement was signed, rising from $136 million to $548 million, the Mexican Economy Secretariat said.

Mexican exports to Uruguay have surged nearly 700 percent, climbing from $34 million to $271 million, while imports soared 174 percent from $101 million in 2004 to $277 million in 2011.

Mexico exports light vehicles, flat-screen monitors and projectors, and tractors, among other products, to Uruguay, while it imports food, including cheese, butter, milk and rice, from the South American country. EFE