EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gutch together with Colombian Minister for Trade Sergio Diaz-Granados Guida and Peruvian Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade Carlos Posada Ugaz, celebrated Wednesday in Brussels the initialling of an ambitious trade agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru.
The agreement is estimated to be worth overall half a billion Euros in duties saved and will open up markets on both sides and increase the stability and predictability of the trading environment.
This agreement is a milestone in our trade relations with the Andean region and creates the right framework to boost trade and investment on both sides, said Commissioner De Gucht.
It creates a foothold for European business in the area and an anchor for structural reforms in the countries concerned. This agreement also recognises that the EU partnership with Colombia and Peru is based on the respect of democratic principles and fundamental human rights.
The following step for the trade agreement is he process of translation into all EU languages, before it will be subject to the approval by EU Member States and the European Parliament.
Once fully implemented, the Agreement will eliminate tariffs in all industrial and fisheries products, increase market access for agricultural products, improve access to public procurement, services and investment markets, further reduce technical barriers to trade, and establish common disciplines including on intellectual property rights, transparency and competition.
The proposed deal also includes a far-reaching agreement on 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. Civil society organisations will be systematically involved to monitor the implementation of these commitments, which will also be subject to an arbitration system.
Some of the key benefits of the agreement include: The Agreement will open up market opportunities for a number of key export industries of the EU which will benefit from the removal of tariffs. For example it is worth over €33 million for the automotive and car parts sector, around €16 million for chemicals and over €60 million for textiles. Other noticeable tariff reductions will be on pharmaceutical and telecommunication products.
The EU will open its market to exporters from Peru and Colombia by committing to an immediate liberalisation in industrial and fisheries products as well as substantial tariff concessions in agriculture. This is expected to have a direct impact on growth and jobs for the two countries.
The Agreement establishes a set of disciplines which go beyond those agreed in the multilateral framework on non-tariff barriers to market access, competition, transparency and intellectual property rights among others - allowing in particular for the protection of over 200 geographical indications on the Colombian and Peruvian markets.
The Agreement will promote internationally agreed best practices while securing a transparent, non-discriminatory and predictable environment for operators and investors via a mediation mechanism designed to address non-tariff barriers and - if necessary - an advanced bilateral dispute settlement mechanism.
It also includes a cooperation chapter aimed at promoting competitiveness and innovation; modernising production, facilitating trade and the transfer of technology between the Parties and finally the Agreement provides for an accession clause which opens the door to the other countries that are members of the Andean Community of Nations to take part in the Agreement when they see fit.
Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and both Colombia and Peru was €16 billion in 2010. The EU exported €3.9 billion to Colombia and imported € 4.7 billion and exported €2.3 billion to Peru and imported € 5.1 billion.
Talks for a Trade Agreement were launched in January 2009 between the EU and Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In July 2009, Ecuador suspended its participation in the talks. Nine rounds of negotiations took place between January 2009 and March 2010, when a successful conclusion was reached.