Bernama | June 01, 2012
EU ministers approve free trade deal with Colombia & Peru
LIMA, June 1 (BERNAMA-NNN-ANDINA) — European Union trade ministers Thursday approved the signing and provisional application of a multipartite free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru.
The agreement will be applied provisionally, pending final approval by the European Parliament, EU trade ministers said in a statement.
The agreement, initialled in March last year, sets out to eliminate high tariffs, tackle technical barriers to trade, liberalise services markets, protect EU geographical indications and open up public procurement markets.
It includes commitments on the enforcement of labour and environmental standards, as well as rapid and effective dispute settlement procedures. It will ensure a level playing field with competitors in the region such as the United States.
Political agreement on the signing and provisional application of the agreement was reached by the Council of the European Union in March this year.
Based on the principle of regional integration, it remains open for signature by Bolivia and Ecuador, the other two members of the Andean Community.
Negotiations on a region-to-region association agreement with the Andean Community, including political dialogue, cooperation and trade, were suspended in 2008.
In January 2009, the Council authorised the European Commission to negotiate a multipartite trade agreement with individual members of the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru).