Guatemala Times | Thursday, 12 February 2009
Progress in negotiations of Trade Agreement between CA and EU
Guatemala — Increased flexibility of the rules of origin, market access, services, dispute resolution, regional approach, competition and procurements are the advances made in the sixth round of negotiations of the Free Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Central America, reported Romulo Caballeros, Minister of Economy of Guatemala.
Guatemala took the leadership of the proposals submitted by Central America. One proposal concerned timetables to address the issue of subsidies for agricultural products, another proposal requested the revision of the access list of services presented by the sectors of information technology, energy and mining.
Guatemala’s Minister of Economy Romualdo Caballeros said that if the negotiation process continues at this pace, it is possible to reach a definite Trade Agreement with the EU in January 2010.
He believes that the most substantial progress made was in the chapter on Dispute Resolution, which was successfully closed by agreeing on a rule-based procedure, through a code of conduct and mechanisms of mediation.
The issues remaining for the next round of negotiations are the topics related to the entry of bananas and sugar, as emissaries of the EU presented a counterproposal to a specific quota of export, said Ruben Morales, vice minister of Foreign Trade. Central America asked for an export quota of 1.2 million tones, which was not accepted by the European Union. The next round of negotiations will start on March 30 to April 3, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.