Peru: Andean Community agrees on trade deal with European Union
October 15, 2008 - Living in Peru

by Israel J. Ruiz

Setting aside their discrepancies and differences, members of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) met in Ecuador on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a trade association agreement with the European Union.

Peru's President Alan Garcia, Bolivian president Evo Morales, Ecuador's Head of State, Rafael Correa and Colombia's vice minister of trade, Eduardo Muñoz met in Guayaquil to discuss the deal they have not been able to agree on.

While Peru and Colombia have affirmed they are ready to sign a free trade pact with the European Union, Ecuador and Bolivia have not shown the same interest.

Because the four countries are members of the CAN trade bloc, the EU has confirmed that it will negotiate with the four countries as a whole.

In Tuesday's meeting, the heads of state agreed that the issue would be discussed with European Union representatives at the Ibero American leaders summit to be held in San Salvador from October 28 - 30.

It was agreed that the South American trade bloc would propose to the EU to establish a trade association and not a free trade pact.

Furthermore, the Andean Community of Nations will request that the E.U. be more flexible with Bolivia and Ecuador in trade agreements.

Ecuador and Bolivia wish to have different deals with respect to taxes, foreign investments, intellectual property and public purchases.

Because of the difficulties in negotiating as a bloc, Peru and Colombia had requested months ago to negotiate a bilateral trade deal with the E.U. on their own.

It was agreed on Tuesday that the two countries would not continue to promote this pact until the E.U. had given a response to CAN's proposal.

Colombia's vice minister affirmed that if this proposal were not accepted by the European Union, Colombia would negotiate a bilateral deal.