Chilean lawmakers put the brakes on free trade talks with Peru

Chile’s Congress has rescinded the fast-track status of a Senate bill seeking free trade negotiations with Peru, citing Peru’s decision to file suite in the International Court of Justice in The Hague to settle the maritime border dispute between the two nations.

Peru’s Foreign Minister José Antonio Garcia Belaunde told reporters that Chilean lawmaker were only hurting their own country by annulling the free trade deal’s priority status. “This isn’t some kind of cooperation accord or a donation, but rather a commercial accord in which both parties expect to benefit,” he said. “The ones damaged by this will be on both sides of the border.

The maritime dispute dates back to the 1879 – 1883 War of the Pacific, in which Peru and Bolivia lost substantial territory to Chile. Central to the row is 38,000 square kilometers, or about 14,500 square miles, of fishing-rich sea which Chile currently controls.

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