Dow Jones Newswires
September 23, 2005
Colombia: US-Andean Free Trade Talks Could Wrap Up By Nov
BOGOTA -(Dow Jones)- Colombia’s government on Friday praised the latest round of talks on establishing a free trade area that would also include the U.S., Ecuador and Peru, saying a final deal could be reached by November.
"We expect to conclude negotiations in October, but we will have until mid-November to refine" details, Hernando Jose Gomez, Colombia’s lead negotiator, said during a press conference at the conclusion of the most recent talks.
More than 1,200 negotiators, business leaders and lawmakers from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru met this week in Cartagena.
Manuel Chiriboga, Ecuador’s chief negotiator, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the process, despite a recent government shake-up.
"We want to send signals of continuity. I want to make clear that our country’s decision is serious," said Chiriboga.
Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism said in a press release that negotiations on some issues, such as financial services, have already been settled.
But talks on agricultural matters will likely require an extra bilateral round of negotiations between the U.S. and Colombia, said Colombia’s agriculture minister, Andres Felipe Arias.
Colombia also opposed for the second time a U.S. proposal that the Andean nation should permit the entry of used clothing, cars and auto parts.
And talks on intellectual property rights and biodiversity were postponed until the next meeting.
The final round of talks between the three Andean nations and the U.S. is expected to take place Oct. 19-21 in Washington, D.C., negotiators said.
— By Diana Delgado, Dow Jones Newswires