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EU-CAN

The European Union and the Andean Community (Comunidad Andina de Naciones or CAN) have been working towards a bilateral trade and investment pact since 1993, when they first signed a Framework Cooperation Agreement. In Rome in 2003, ten years later, they signed a joint commitment to formally enter into an Association Agreement, “including a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).” This was reaffirmed at the highest political level in Guadalajara in 2004. In May 2006, both sides agreed to initiate the negotiating process as soon as possible. The Andean Community is composed of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. (Venezuela withdrew in 2006.)

In April 2007, the EU adopted its negotiating mandate for the process. The draft is available here. Negotiations started in May 2007. Three rounds of negotiations have taken place so far. The second round was held in Brussels in December 2007 and the third in Quito in April 2008.

The fourth round was suspended in the face of opposition from the Bolivian and Ecuadoran governments, causing a great deal of tension within CAN.

Confronting this set of circumstances (cancellation of the fourth round of negotiations), Andean and European social organizations issued the following statement: “Under these conditions, we hold that it is politically unviable and economically unwise to continue the negotiations while the situation described remains in effect. The governments of Colombia and Peru must listen to the demands of their civil society organizations and of the presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador, which call for reorienting the direction, content, and conduct of the negotiations with the European Union. If the existing negotiating framework remains in place and the political situation of CAN is not given due recognition, this integration process will be further weakened, and once again the governments will be acting with disrespect for civil society and its rights”.

In the EU’s conception, the Association Agreement has three components: an FTA, a cooperation agreement, and a forum for political dialogue. However, the EU’s prime concerns are clearly the FTA and the opening of markets for European corporations (even in areas of “cooperation”).

According to GRAIN’s analysis, the objectives pursued are: reduction of taxes on foreign business activity, including import and export tariffs; opening up the country to uncontrolled trade flows; changing quality standards and technical standards; simplifying and restricting the use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures; providing unrestricted access to raw materials, especially minerals; “maximum possible protection” for intellectual property rights; opening up of all economic sectors and aspects of national life to European investment; direct or indirect privatization of all public services and government-owned corporations; obligation on the part of governments to put all procurement and contracts out to international tender; elimination of policies and programs to support and protect economic activities and domestic products.

After Bolivia and Ecuador refused to sign an FTA, the EU continued negotiations bilaterally with Peru and Colombia. In April 2011, Colombia signed onto a text with the EU and the deal with Peru is in force on a provisional basis even though both await ratification by the European Parliament. I the meantime, Ecuador, which upholds an anti-FTA position, continues having conversations with the EU towards a possible agreement.

last update: May 2012


Colombian minister in France to push EU trade deal
Colombia’s social protection minister has met with members of the European Parliament to explain his country’s advances in human rights issues as it pertains to the pending free trade agreement between Colombia and the EU, newspaper El Espectador reported Tuesday.
Colombia and Peru closer to implementing the free trade agreement with the EU
Negotiators from the European Union, Colombia and Peru have signed the final texts on an association agreement with a free trade chapter designed to increase commerce between the Andean countries and the European bloc, it was reported Friday.
Negotiators initial trade agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru.
The initialling will be followed by the process of translation, signature and adoption of this agreement so that it can enter into force as soon as possible for all parties.
NGOs urge EU to strike down Colombia trade deal
More than 200 non-governmental organizations sign a manifesto calling on the European Union to strike down its free trade agreement with Colombia, EFE reported Wednesday.
Peru, EU to sign FTA final documents in mid-March
Peru and the European Union will sign the final documents of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in mid-March, Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros said Sunday.
Peru-EU FTA legal review to conclude on Friday
Once the text is finalised, the Peruvian Chancellery is in charge of determining whether the FTA should be ratified by Congress or the Executive, while the EU will determine whether the agreement is “mixed” or not, reports Agencia Andina.
Peru-EU FTA to come into effect January 2012
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Peru and the European Union may come into force in January 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) announced Tuesday.
MEPs protest FTA with Colombia
Members of the European Parliament say that the EU’s free trade agreement with Colombia should not be approved as there has been little progress on human rights in the Andean nation, reports ABC.
The Second Conquest: The EU free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru
This FDCL/TNI publication contains an overview of the FTA’s history, of human rights violations in Colombia and Peru as well as a critical analysis of the draft agreement which recently leaked to the public.
Stop the shameful EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Already this year, more than 30 union activists have been murdered.

    Links


  • Justice for Colombia
    Justice for Colombia, with the support of the UK and European trade union movement, is campaigning to stop the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Colombia.