Colombia, Peru presidents urge quick EU trade deals

by Dave

News | Africa – Reuters.com

Peru and Colombia, frustrated by slow region-to-region free trade talks between the EU and South America’s four Andean countries, have formally asked Brussels to pursue swifter bilateral negotiations with them.

The free-market presidents of Peru and Colombia made the proposal this month, trade officials told Reuters, underscoring their split with Bolivia and Ecuador, whose leftist leaders are more wary of liberalising trade with Europe.

The EU has long favoured negotiating free trade deals on a region-to-region basis as it tries to replicate its multilateral model around the world and to foster bigger, regional markets that are more attractive to its exporters.

But time is running short as the term of the European Commission, the EU’s executive, is due to end in November 2009.

The United States has already negotiated a trade deal with Colombia but it has been blocked by opposition in Congress. A U.S.-Peru trade deal is due to come into force in January.

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