The EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the Colombian Minister for Trade Sergio Díaz-Granados, and the Peruvian Minister for Foreign Trade José Luis Silva Martinot signed on 26 June a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Colombia and Peru.
The Commission estimated that the trade agreement should bring, once fully implemented, an instant net benefit to the EU exporters of €270 million a year in duties relieve only. Furthermore, it will open up markets on both sides and increase the stability and predictability of the trading environment.
De Gucht welcomed signing of the Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru, saying it should create “a stable framework to boost trade and investment between the EU and the Andean region".
"In times of economic crisis, increasing trade and investment is the way forward to create growth and jobs,” he added.
With this signature, a formal ratification procedures kick off in the EU, as well as in Colombia and Peru. The European Parliament should give its consent this year, followed by national parliaments. In the meantime, following the consent of the European Parliament and conclusion of ratification procedures in Colombia and Peru, the Agreement will be provisionally applied.
However, the European Parliament raised concerns regarding the human rights aspects of the deal, pointing out that labour rights, especially the rights of trade unions in two Andean countries are way below the standards, and threatening to withhold the consent if Peru and Columbia do not improve their labour standards.
The Agreement should 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 lege artis on intellectual property rights, transparency and competition.