Financial crisis not to affect FTA negotiation with Andean countries - EU official
The international financial crisis will not affect the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations between the European Union (EU) and three Andean countries, a representative of the European Commission (EC) said here Wednesday.
"I do not think the crisis could affect the negotiations. On the contrary, it will inject more impetus and dynamism" into it, Antonio Cardoso told radio station Radio Programas del Peru (RPP).
Cardoso said there is always a tendency to protect the sectors felt threatened, but "experience has taught us that closing borders is not a solution."
"We are not in favor of protectionism, of closing border and turning to ourselves in the face of crisis. That is not our financing model," Cardoso said, recalling the bad experience 30 years ago when protectionist measures caused economic debacle in Europe, Xinhua reports.
The EC representative said the EU expects to achieve an agreement with Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, and will insist on achieving an association agreement with all members of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), which also includes Bolivia.
Cardoso said under the current difficult conditions, the best way to address challenges is to work together and negotiate the association agreement with the CAN.
The first round of negotiations began this week in Bogota. Bolivia is the only country which does not want such an agreement.
Bolivia has warned its Andean counterparts such an agreement with the EU would mean the "disappearance of the sub-regional bloc" and said it will fight to end the negotiations.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled to be held on March 23 in Lima and the third in Brussels in May.