Monday

15th Oct 2018

EU signs trade deals with Peru and Colombia

The European Union has initialed free trade agreements (FTAs) with Peru and Colombia, opening up trade and investment and saving an estimated half a billion euros in duties.

Wednesday's (13 April) signing in Brussels comes roughly one year after negotiations between the two South American states and the EU were concluded, talks which drew attention to violence in Colombia and saw Ecuador leave the negotiating table.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The agreement will increase market access for agricultural products (Photo: newneonunion)

EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht welcomed the "milestone" agreement, saying it created a "foothold for European business in the area and an anchor for structural reforms in the countries concerned."

Once fully implemented, the deal will eliminate tariffs in all industrial and fisheries products, increase market access for agricultural products and widen access to public procurement, services and investment markets, among other measures.

EU member states and the European Parliament must now ratify the FTAs, with some MEPs previously expressing concern over the high number of trade union deaths in Colombia, roughly 60 percent of the world total.

The commission has stressed that the protection of human rights and the rule of law, as well as commitments to effectively implement international conventions on labour rights and environmental protection, are part of the deal.

Attending the signing in Brussels, Colombian trade minister Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados Guida said greater trade flows between the two sides would help Bogota stamp out violence and drug trafficking.

"This FTA will help us progress and leave behind those problems," he told journalists. "Economic growth based on free trade helps the stability and development of our peoples."

In Peru, recent first round presidential elections have set the scene for a second round face-off this June between left-wing Ollanta Humala and the conservative Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

Some voices within the Peruvian business community have expressed concern that an eventual Humala victory could hurt the country's booming economy, but the EU's De Gucht said the election outcome would have little impact on the FTA.

"This is an agreement which is finished ... It's standard international practice that once a negotiation is completed you don't change it [just] because there is a change of government," he said.

The EU also said the door was open for other countries in the region to strike similar trade agreements, after earlier dialogues with Bolivia and Ecuador hit the buffers.

EU lifts trade barriers with Colombia, Peru

EU officials are hopeful that a free trade deal entering into force on Thursday will improve labour rights in Colombia. But local trade unionists are sceptical.

Opinion

Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it

If my region in the Sahara were excluded, it would strongly undermine our development, with a risk of opening the door to radicalisation and undermining the stability of the whole Mediterranean region, especially with respect to security and migration.

Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive

Voters in Germany's largest state hived off to the left and right of the ruling conservatives in Sunday's elections - posing questions for Merkel's authority.

Opinion

It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations

A new treaty, to be negotiated this week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, aims to put an end to the 'organised irresponsibility' of transnational corporations on human rights and labour abuses. Time for EU to take note.

Magazine

Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money

The European Commission has promised greater flexibility for local authorities when it comes to delivering on-the-ground results - but it has also tied cohesion policy to the European Semester, a tool used to coordinate macroeconomic policies.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Magazine

Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money

The European Commission has promised greater flexibility for local authorities when it comes to delivering on-the-ground results - but it has also tied cohesion policy to the European Semester, a tool used to coordinate macroeconomic policies.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us