4 June 2008
Bolivian president urges Peruvian counterpart to respect Andean Community rules
LIMA, June 3 (Xinhua) — Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday urged his Peruvian counterpart Alan Garcia to respect the pledges made under the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) before signing any unilateral free trade agreements, local reports reaching here said.
Morales warned Garcia of violating regional norms and "destroying the integration of the Andean region" by signing unilateral trade agreements with countries including the United States.
The president also called on CAN members — Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru — to define the interests of the continent while "preserving the unity and respecting the norms of the Andean region."
Bolivia and Ecuador have rejected Peru’s request that members of the Andean Community make their own intellectual property laws, a condition Peru needs to implement a free trade deal it signed with the United States a year ago.
Peru also signed a trade agreement with Canada last month and plans to sign a similar pact with Singapore, China and the European Union.
Peru and Colombia’s attempts to seek unilateral agreements with the European Union have also irritated their Andean neighbors as the CAN and the EU had agreed in 2006 to negotiate "bloc to bloc" an Association Agreement that would also include a trade deal.
Morales called for consensus among Andean countries to solve their "internal differences" and consolidate their common position in "bloc to bloc" negotiations with the European Union.
During a summit in Lima last month, the CAN and the EU agreed to establish a "flexible framework" for their talks, allowing deals to go into force with countries that are ready.
Morales said his country would not compromise on such issues as economic liberalization of the energy sector and intellectual property rights.
Peruvian Minister of International Trade and Tourism Mercedes Araoz said Peru will not withdraw from the CAN despite differences with fellow members but needs flexibilities to achieve its goals.
"It is important to find a way to achieve a commercial alliance with Europe respecting the priorities of each nation," she said.