Morales urges Latin American countries to kill FTA with U.S.
VIENNA, May 11 (Xinhua) — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales on Thursday urged Latin American countries to kill their free trade agreements with the United States, so as to keep the Andean Community alive.
"They should stop any negotiations with the United States regarding a free trade agreement, because these treaties are destroying the Andean Community," Morales told a press conference prior to the EU-Latin Summit. He appealed to Colombia, Peru and Ecuador in his call.
Morales accused the three of abandoning the "basic principles" of the Andean Community by ratifying the FTA with the United States.
"The basic foundation of the Andean Community was to strengthenthe regional economy and market," Morales said.
He said he also asked Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez "not towithdraw" from the trade grouping.
He said there were still some more Andean members who were trying to start free trade talks with the European Union (EU).
Morales did not say whether he favored negotiations on a free trade agreement with the EU, but he called for more market access for the goods from the Andean Community.
Peru’s President Alejandro Toledo said last week the Andean Community would seek to launch trade talks at the three-day summit here, with or without Venezuela and Bolivia.
Both Chavez and Morales have warned that they might withdraw their countries from the five-nation group if the other members move to finalize trade pacts with Washington.
Colombia and Peru have reached such agreements with Washington,and they must now be approved by their legislatures. Ecuador is still negotiating.