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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


’EU trade deal could take 1.5 years to pass’
Colombia’s free trade agreement with the European Union could take one and a half years to be ratified by the European parliament, according to the EU’s Deputy Director for External Relations.
Banana growers in Ecuador fear for their future
Everyone is watching closely for the results of a visit by an EU delegation to Quito on 14-16 June.
Dairy industry to protest Colombia-EU FTA signing
Colombian dairy farmers from across the country will launch a last-ditch round of protests on Wednesday to oppose the signing of the Andean nation’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union
Latin America-European Union trade union declaration discussed with Spanish government
Trade unions from Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union call for a halt to the ratification of the EU-Central America and EU-Colombia/Peru Free Trade Agreements (FTA) given the omission of key trade union demands and the lack of involvement of civil society and trade unions in the negotiations process.
EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: TUC analysis of the draft text
The TUC supports trade agreements that promote decent work, but opposes the current EU negotiations with Colombia for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on principle. More trade unionists get murdered in Colombia than the rest of the world combined and the Colombian Government is failing to prevent this.
Notes on the Association Agreements with the European Union
The EU proposes that the parties be empowered to collaborate on the practical implementation of domestic rules regulating access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, innovations, and practices on their territories, so as to guarantee compliance with those provisions. This is a case of interference with national sovereignty, unquestionably for the benefit of European pharmaceutical corporations.
FTA with Europe should be postponed: Comptroller General
Colombia’s comptroller general says that the free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), which is set to be officially signed next week in Madrid, should not be signed until the new Colombian government takes office, Portofolio reported Thursday.
Agriculture minister admits EU FTA will hurt dairy farmers
Colombian Agriculture Minister Andres Fernandez admitted Thursday that his country’s free trade agreement with the European Union, due to be signed next week, will adversely affect more than 400,000 farming families across Colombia, reports Caracol.
NGOs call for human rights protection in Colombia-EU FTA
Several South American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have called on the European Union to put better human rights provisions into its free trade agreement with Colombia
Rights groups slam EU free trade deal with Colombia
The European Union is close to reaching a free trade deal with Colombia. But human rights watchdogs, trade union organizations and some politicians believe the agreement would send all the wrong signals to Bogota.

    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.