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.
Trade negotiators from the European Union and the Central American nations met in Brussels last week and agreed to renew negotiations for an Association Agreement
There is a commitment to conclude the negotiation of the three pillars of the agreement in the month of July 2009.
On April 1, Nicaragua withdrew from FTA talks with the EU in Honduras as it failed to gain support of other Central American countries on the fund proposal for regional development, in which it suggested the EU accounts for 90 percent and Central America 10 percent. Nicaragua accused Costa Rica of demanding "in the last moment" to review the proposal.
With Nicaragua leaving the negotiation table, the 7th round of negotiations between the EU and Central America has been suspended. With this, the aggressive policies of he EU have been brought to a halt for the time being.
Increased flexibility of the rules of origin, market access, services, dispute resolution, regional approach, competition and procurements are the advances made in the sixth round of negotiations of the Free Association Agreement between the European Union and Central America according to Romulo Caballeros, Minister of Economy of Guatemala.
Speaking at the EU-Central America Private Sector Forum, in Brussels on 28 January, Eurochambres’ Secretary-General Arnaldo Abruzzini urged political leaders not to miss the favourable momentum to conclude an association agreement (AA) between the EU and Central America, to the benefit of businesses in both regions.
The European Commission and Central America — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; and Panama as observer — will meet in Brussels from 26 to 30 January 2009 for the sixth round of negotiations leading to an Association Agreement between the two regions. In addition, the Commission is announcing a €15 million aid package to support the strengthening of regional institutions in Central America and the participation of civil society in the process.
The banana companies in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States maybe forced out of business following the European Union’s decision to negotiate a Free Trade agreement (FTA) with Central American countries in what the ACP Group describes as on “too generous” terms.
The European Commission has offered to permanently scrap import duties on ethanol from Central America as part of ongoing discussions over an Association Agreement between the two regions.
Latin American businessmen have long been lobbying for free trade agreements with the EU.
The EU is currently negotiating FTAs with Central America, the Andean Community of Nations and Mercosur. Its objective is to use these agreements to complete the privatisation process, to remove restrictions on European property and activity in the region, to acquire full access to natural resources and to obtain guarantees that European companies will be able to operate with clear advantages over national companies. Moreover, all these concessions granted to European companies are to be protected from any political changes that the peoples of the region might want to undertake in the future.
The European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the European Union, and Central America will meet in Brussels from 14 to 18 July 2008 for a fourth round of negotiations in view of an Association Agreement between the two regions.
Costa Rican officials announced they are not satisfied with the market opening proposal issued by the European Union (EU) prior to the beginning of the fourth round of negotiations for an eventual EU-Central America agreement. Costa Rican trade officials stated that they “do not perceive an interest on the part of the Europeans to advance the process.”
Urgent action is needed to strengthen democratic scrutiny of the negotiations and ensure that the Association Agreement with Europe doesn’t worsen poverty, gender inequality and violations of women’s rights in Central America.
Mexico has begun negotiations with several Central American countries to merge its three individual Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with them into a single one
European and Latin American leaders pledged to deepen trade ties between their two regions and tackle global warming and poverty at the fifth EU-Latin America-Caribbean Summit in Lima.
A third round of free trade agreement negotiations between the European Union and Central America concluded last week with little progress on the thorniest issues, though officials said that they better understood each other’s interests and positions,