Mexico will join the United States and eight other countries making up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks at the negotiation table, it was announced Monday by President Obama and officials of the United States Trade Representative.

"We are delighted to invite Mexico, our neighbor and second-largest export market, to join the TPP negotiations," said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a statement after a meeting between Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at a trade summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The decision to accept Mexico's application was agreed upon by the nine countries currently negotiating the TPP pact - the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

Calderon termed the announcement "a great piece of news" that would help Mexico expand its economy and create more jobs at a time when some other countries are facing slowdowns, according to a Reuters news release.

Mexico is the number one customer by volume of U.S. pork and in 2011 became the second market to import more than $1 billion in U.S. pork in a single year. Exports to Mexico in 2011 jumped 6 percent in value over 2010, reaching $1.04 billion. “The United States is the number one exporter of pork in the world and well-positioned to capture a significant share of the growing global pork market,” according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

The United States discussed with Mexico its ability to negotiate on issues that are a priority for the United States in the TPP. Mexico has assured the United States that it is prepared to conclude a high-standard agreement that will include issues that were not covered in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Mexico, Canada and Japan last November all expressed interest in joining the TPP talks, during an economic summit in Honolulu. NPPC has asked Canada to discontinue subsidizing its pork industry as a condition for that country to join the TPP trade talks.

Currently, the United States, Mexico and Canada are awaiting a decision from a World Trade Organization dispute panel on a separate complaint by Mexico and Canada over the U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements. A ruling is expected in June.