EU signs trade agreement with Peru and Colombia

8 July 2012

The EU has signed an ambitious and comprehensive Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru. Once fully implemented, the agreement will open up market opportunities for a number of key export industries in the EU which will be able to benefit from the removal of tariffs.

The Commission estimates that the trade deal will relieve EU exporters of €270 million (£217 million) in duties each year. It will eliminate tariffs in all industrial and fisheries products, increase market access for agricultural products and improve access to public procurement, services and investment markets.

The agreement will also further reduce technical barriers to trade and establish common disciplines including, for example, on intellectual property rights, transparency and competition. In addition, it will allow for the protection of over 100 EU geographical indications for foodstuffs on the Colombian and Peruvian markets.

A number of sectors are due to benefit. For example, it is estimated that the automotive and car parts industry will reap over €33 million (£26.5 million approximately) in tariff reductions, whilst the chemicals and textiles industries should benefit from reductions in the region of €16 million (£12.8 million) and €60 million (£48.2 million) respectively. Other noticeable tariff reductions will be in pharmaceutical and telecommunications products.

By opening up the EU market to exporters from Peru and Colombia, the agreement is expected to have a direct impact on growth and jobs in these countries and contribute to the sustained move up in the value chain of their economies.

The proposed deal also includes an agreement on the protection of human rights and the rule of law as well as commitments to implement effectively international conventions on labour rights and environmental protection. Civil society organisations will be systematically involved in the monitoring of the implementation of these commitments, which will also be subject to an arbitration system.

All EU Member States are parties to the agreement and have already signed it. This signature allows for the formal ratification procedures to kick off in the EU as well as in Colombia and Peru.

The European Parliament (EP) will be the first to act by voting on consent this year while Member States' Parliaments are expected to adopt the text at a later stage. In the meantime, the Trade Agreement will be provisionally applied between the parties - provided EP consent is granted and ratification procedures are also concluded in Colombia and Peru.

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