2008-11-21

Ecuador seeks treaty with the European Union

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Alonso Ramos

QUITO, Ecuador – The government of Ecuador expressed its interest in reaching a bilateral agreement with the European Union after the failure of “bloc” negotiations between the Community of Andean Nations (CAN) and the EU.

In a press release issued on November 17th, Ecuador's foreign minister showed keenness to “move forward in the relationship” with European countries, so long as the economic and commercial policies of president Rafael Correa were respected.

According to the EFE news agency, the foreign minister María Jesús Espinoza described the acceptance on the behalf of the EU to negotiate bilateral agreements with Colombia and Peru as a “bucket of cold water”, given that both countries decided to act independently of the Community of Andean Nations.

The statement made from the Foreign Office in Quito reported that on the 14th of October, at a summit in Guayaquil, the members of the CAN agreed to present a joint proposal to the EU in order to seal a treaty.

Upon learning of the advances made by Peru and Colombia on November 11th, another CAN member, Bolivia, called an urgent meeting between the Andean and European blocs to overcome differences, reported the agency Associated Press.

According to BBC World, the principal differences stem from the fact that Ecuador and Bolivia are demanding more protectionism for their products, while Peru and Colombia are in favour of opening up markets.

Andean bloc formed in 1969

CAN's website states that the organisation was founded on the 26th of May 1969 with the aim of “improving the lives of the region's inhabitants via integration and social and economic cooperation”.

BBC World stated that exports figures between CAN member countries increased 13% in 2007, compared to 2006 when they amounted to 5.858 billion dollars.

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