This week’s negotiations are key for the Central American region, as the fate of the so called ‘sensitive products’ will be defined.
The negotiation will begin with considerable differences in what each side has conceded so far. Central America has allowed immediate access for 3.116 tariff lines, 47.49% of the total, plus gradually removing tariffs on 3.445 lines. Europe offered immediate access to 8.845 lines, 90.94% of the total, plus gradually removing tariffs on 880 additional lines.
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A negotiation round for an association agreement between Central America and Europe starts this week, covering commercial aspects.
Pending topics include access for Central American agriculture products to Europe (banana and sugar) and sustainable development.
“In the latter, the EU wants to define productive and dignifying employment as one of the key aspects of globalization and international trade”, reported Prensalibre.com.
The new offer increases the quota for sugar from Central America that can enter the European Union without tariffs to 100,000 tons.
According to La Prensa Gráfica, the president of the Sugar Association of El Salvador, Armando Arias, indicated that "the Minister of the Economy said publicly that he knew–off the record-that the EU might offer up to 100,000 tons to Central America.”
Starting on July 1st, Panama will once again enjoy preferential tariff access to the European market, after losing this benefit on 2008, for failing to renew it on time.
Roberto Henríquez, Commerce and Industry ministry, announced that “yesterday, the European Commission confirmed Panama as one of the countries included in the Generalized Tariff Preferences System (SGP-Plus), starting on July 1st”.
In negotiations on an association agreement with Central America, the European Union has improved its offer by proposing to increase the number of products that will enter Europe under the enhanced Generalized System of Preferences (GSP Plus).
Eduardo Cálix, El Salvador's deputy foreign minister and Central America's current regional spokesman on political matters, said that recognition of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was no longer an issue. The European Union would allow time so that each country's legislature can officially recognize the ICC's authority, he added.