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Peru approves free trade agreement with EU

13 december 2012, 19:15
0
©REUTERS
©REUTERS
Peru has approved a free trade agreement with the European Union and Colombia that will allow 75 percent of agricultural products and 100 percent of other goods to enter the eurozone duty-free, AFP reports.

The deal, first initialed in March 2011, was approved by EU trade ministers earlier this year and will put the 27-nation bloc on the same footing as the United States.

On Wednesday Peru's legislature approved it, with all 94 attending legislators voting in favor. Peruvian Trade Minister Jose Luis Silva said the deal should take effect during the first quarter of 2013, in February or March.

Colombia is expected to approve the deal by the end of the week.

The agreement includes a clause to protect labor rights, human rights and the environment, addressing the three main issues that had hindered talks.

Based on regional integration, the accord remains open for signature by Bolivia and Ecuador, the other two members of the Andean Community bloc. The two countries -- led by leftist governments -- have thus far rejected it.

In 2011 bilateral trade between the European Union, Colombia and Peru amounted to 21.1 billion euros ($27 billion), according to the European Union.

The European Union struck trade agreements with Mexico in 2000 and Chile in 2002, but talks with the South American trade bloc Mercosur have been stalled since 2004.

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