EU-Central America Countries Trade Negotiations
There are also negotiations underway on the EU- Central American countries which I believe consist of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Again my two areas are:-
Rules of Origin Protocol between the EU and the countries shown above collectively called Central America (CA)
Tariff Offers between the EU and the above
As with my previous questions, I would again appreciate receiving your areas of interest, concern etc. Another question is would you be interested in seeing documents on EU tariff offers and those presented by the CA countries (in your areas) ? Also, origin related documents (in your areas)? This would have to be dependent on us receiving documents of interest to your industry and also unfortunately whether we are able to send such documents as they may be restricted which will limit what we can offer, but first things first. Please provide answers to my range of questions and then we can take it forward.
Currently, these 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.