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EU Publishes Text of Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru

13 April 2011: The EU has published the text of its trade agreement with Colombia and Peru, which includes commitments to effectively implement international conventions on environmental protection.

The agreement aims to set in place adequate guarantees to ensure that the new architecture for trade and investment relations between the EU, Colombia and Peru works in favor of sustainable development, by promoting and preserving a high level of environmental protection standards on all sides. The agreement incorporates a confirmation of the parties' right to develop and improve environmental policies, while respecting their international commitments in those areas and aiming at a high level of protection. It also includes commitments to effectively implement eight environmental international conventions, and refrain from waiving or derogating from protection standards to encourage trade or investment, and to effectively implement domestic legislation and standards. Particular attention is given to sustainable forest management, illegal fishing, cooperation on climate change issues, and the adoption of precautionary measures.

In addition, the Agreement establishes an arbitration system and an engagement process with civil society. As to arbitration, an independent group of experts can be requested by one party to examine and assess the parties' compliance and issue reports, which are to be public, on an impartial basis allowing for remedial action to be decided. Moreover, the agreement establishes an obligation of transparency coupled with mechanisms for consultation of and engagement with civil society organizations on matters related to its implementation.

Finally, the agreement also provides for technical assistance and capacity building initiatives aimed at promoting – in the framework of traditional cooperation channels – the competitiveness and innovation potential of Peru and Colombia. This will be achieved notably by modernizing production processes, facilitating trade, and allowing for adequate transfer of technology between the parties. This will take place in areas of common interest and in particular on technical barriers to trade and intellectual property rights.

The negotiations on the agreement were concluded in March 2010. In April 2011 parties initialed the agreement. [EU Press Release] [Publication: Trade Agreement Between the European Union and Colombia and Peru]