Peru expects to launch FTA negotiations with Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatelama on November 8. The decision of El Salvador and Nicaragua will be rendered in a couple of days.
The texts as they were agreed to at the final negotiation round in Madrid on 16-18 May 2010, now going through legal scrubbing.
South Korea is seeking to boost its partnership with Panama, a small Central American country that has strong ties with the United States, politically and economically, and explore the possibility of signing free trade agreements with regional players with the nation’s help.
Labor unions, human rights advocates and workers across both continents are opposing the new trade agreements at a time when Europe is struggling to rebound from the financial crisis, suddenly intensifed by the recent turmoil in Greece. The popular opposition to free trade could foreshadow similar conflicts in the United States, as several deals with Latin American countries are currently stalled in Congress.
The European Union on Wednesday signed agreements liberalizing trade with Central America, Peru and Colombia, while some Latin American leaders criticized such deals as only favouring rich countries.
Under the agreement, cars made by EU producers such as Volkswagen AG, Renault SA and Fiat SpA will be given increasing free access to the Central American market over 10 years. The governments also agreed on quotas for EU imports of 7,000 tons of boneless cuts of beef and 20,000 tons of rice, growing 5 percent annually, that constitute new trade.
Trade unions from Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union call for a halt to the ratification of the EU-Central America and EU-Colombia/Peru Free Trade Agreements (FTA) given the omission of key trade union demands and the lack of involvement of civil society and trade unions in the negotiations process.
Central American countries and the European Union have reached a free trade agreement in talks in the Spanish capital, an EU official told AFP on Tuesday.
The European Union is eager to sign free-trade agreements under the Spanish presidency between the EU and MERCOSUR, Central America and Peru and Colombia. Farmer’s organizations from both Latin American countries and Europe are united in their opposition to the talks.
A new accord designed to bolster political and economic ties between the European Union and Central America could result in greater seizures of medicines whenever pharmaceutical companies allege that their patents have been infringed, public health advocates have warned.
The EU approved last week a change in the mandate for its negotiators in order to include Panama in the discussions, following a formal request from that country, as well as an assent by Panama to accept all of the points already agreed upon in the negotiations by its Central American partners Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
The negotiation process will begin in May and will be between Peru and Central America, such the one with the European Union
The elections and investiture of Porfirio Lobo as President of Honduras have cleared the way for the EU to restore normal relations with the Central American country and negotiations for signing a bi-regional Association Agreement may soon resume.
A senior European Union official on Monday stressed the 27-nation bloc’s commitment to signing a free trade agreement with Central American nations.
Peru will begin negotiations to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Central America in May next year, Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism
According to Latin American trade unions and organisations, patenting has had devastating consequences for biological diversity in several Latin American countries. Yet neither the patent rules proposed in the association agreement between the EU and Central America nor the bilateral trade negotiations taking place between the EU and Colombia and Peru have taken account of such criticism.
The Honduran crisis is delaying trade agreement negotiations between Central America and the European Union, as diplomats wait to see how the political situation there plays out.
The June coup d’état in Honduras was a body blow to political integration in Central America. The old idea of a protected and privileged trade area does not make any sense now in the light of globalisation, "so the concept of open integration was adopted. But that needed to be translated into concrete terms and this was not done."
The first trade priority for the upcoming Swedish presidency of the European Union is to close the free trade agreement with South Korea
Right now, the EU-Central America Association Agreement is being actively negotiated and the European Commission is desperate to get it finalised by July. Yet, there are many concerns from civil society in both Central America and the European Union about the pace and content of these trade negotiations. Concerns are being voiced by some Central American governments too.