Peru joins Ecuador and Colombia to negotiate free trade agreement with EU

Delegates from Peru, Ecuador and Colombia began meetings in Bogota on Monday in the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union.

This round of negotiations, the first of four that the countries hope will conclude with an agreement by mid-year, comes after a series of postponements. The European Union’s policy is to reach free trade accords only with trade blocks, and not with individual countries, and in this case the Andean Community.

Bolivia, however, has refused to negotiate any free trade treaty and threatened to veto any bilateral negotiations by Andean countries with the EU. Initially, Ecuador also rejected the proposal but after recent diplomatic talks, it has joined Colombia and Peru to work together for an agreement with the EU.

Peru’s foreign affairs minister, José Antonio García-Belaunde, said Bolivia’s attempt to establish a veto had been resolved. “The process will move forward and those who ideologically believe that it is counterproductive and goes against their interests do not have to participate,” he said.

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