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FTA daggers leave Andeans gasping

Prensa Latina, Cuba

FTA Daggers Leave Andeans Gasping

24 April 2006

Caracas, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan Minister for Integration and Foreign Trade Gustavo Márquez said on Monday that the countries which signed Free Trade Agreements with the US are responsible for the failure of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

During the television program En Confianza, Marquez said long term agreements will be maintained, making gradual transitions to avoid damaging economic interests.

Márquez said that since President Hugo Chavez took office, Venezuela has been fighting inside CAN for the integration of the Andean countries, and the creation of an Andean humanitarian fund to meet social problems, which was denied.

The CAN member countries also refused to create PetroAndina, which aimed at boosting the region"s energy alliance. "Colombia, Peru and Ecuador lost a good possibility of developing inter-Andean trade," said the minister.

Marquez stated that if the free trade agreements are signed, then all CAN’s regulations would have to be changed, since they cause a big impact on intellectual property.

On Wednesday, Venezuela will meet with the CAN commission made up of foreign trade ministers in order to negotiate relations of the existing CAN agreements.