Monday, 23 November 2009
Last week, the Colombia’s capital has seen the EU and Peru and Colombia negotiating an Association Agreement. This Agreement concerns three issues: Free trade Agreement, cooperation and a form of political dialogue. However, according to Aguiar Machado (the EU negotiator in charge) the last two were put on hold because EU does not want to isolate the rest of the Andean block (the Andean Community is composed by Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; Venezuela withdrew in 2006).
The agreement has already closed half of the table of negotiations but yet, need to agree in other issues such as: reduction of import and export tariff in the banana industry and cars; an annual increase in the quota for sugar from the Andes to the EU; fishing and services; among others.
Regarding to Intellectual Property, Mr Santiago Pardo (Colombia’s main negotiator) affirmed that the negotiation regarding this area is ‘going well’ and that an agreement has been reached regarding patents. However, there are issues that are still of debate. For instance, on one hand Peru and Colombia are seeking for an agreement that ensures good use of its rich biodiversity. On the other hand, Europe is debating to protect their appellation of origin.
The EU and the Andean Community have been working towards a bilateral Agreement since 1993. By the fourth round (July 2008)the negotiations failed due to Bolivia and Ecuador causing tension. The Agreement block to block (Andean Community and EU) failed but two of the members continues with talks. The separated bilateral Agreement as it looks, seems that it is close to conclusion.
I would like to be optimistic. The reason being that the block to block agreement negotiation lasted more than ten years and it did not succeed. Last September, Peru and Colombia asked Brussels to continue bilateral negotiations and two month later they have managed to negotiate half of the 14 tables of negotiations. It seems pretty good to me.
For more information regarding the failed Andean Community and the EU Agreement (CAN - EU) click here.