EU-Andean Countries Trade Negotiations

The first round of trade talks on the above took place in Bogota from 9 to 13 February 2009.

Part of these negotiations will be discussions on two areas of which I am involved.

Rules of Origin Protocol

Tariff Offers between the EU and Andean Countries (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru)

Background

Currently, these three countries, as beneficiaries under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) have duty reductions on their products exported to the Community, of varying rates, assuming that the GSP rules of origin are met and that the products are in receipt of any preferences.  This agreement is autonomous and the EU does not have any reciprocal tariff reductions when exports to these countries.

These early discussions look towards putting into place a reciprocal Free Trade Agreement (or whatever the actual title will be), whereby a set of preferential rules of origin will be put in place and when these rules of origin are met, would allow reciprocal tariff preferences. It is not clear yet, what these tariff reductions would be or over what time scale but it is essential that we begin to understand any industry concerns on the tariffs currently applied by these countries which effect your industries exports (assuming there are any).

Therefore, what I would like to ask is that you provide me with a list of products along with their 8 or ten digit tariff headings (those that are applied in the three countries please) that you export to them, for which duty is payable and if you can what the rates of duty are, that you have concerns for and whereby reductions from the basic rate, eventually over an agreed time span becoming zero (that is my understanding) will have a positive impact on your industries exports.

I expect these will be lengthy negotiations and the rules of origin aspects have yet to be started and I will of course be in touch once we have a protocol (rules of origin) on which I will seek your views etc.

For now though, I am concentrating on tariffs, so if at all possible, can I have any early views by Friday 13 March or shortly afterwards so that I can provide my colleagues who attend the meetings where this will be discussed, have UK interests to hand.