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MEPs Back EU Trade Deal With Ecuador

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

19 December 2016

The European Parliament has approved proposals to permit Ecuador to accede to the EU's trade agreement with Colombia and Peru.

MEPs approved the deal by 544 votes to 114, with 44 abstentions.

Upon the agreement's entry into force, Ecuador will abolish tariffs on 60 percent of EU imports. The EU will eliminate tariffs on almost 95 percent of Ecuadorian imports.

Ecuador will receive improved access to the EU market for key products, including fish, cut flowers, cocoa, fruit, and nuts. Ecuadorian bananas will be granted a preferential rate, but the interests of EU growers will be protected by a stabilization mechanism that will allow for the suspension of preferences after an annual threshold is reached.

The European Commission estimates that EU exporters will save at least EUR100m (USD105m) in tariffs, with Ecuadorian firms to save almost EUR250m a year once the deal is fully implemented.

Ecuador suspended its participation in the negotiations for the initial agreement in 2009. Negotiations to access the agreement were resumed in January 2014 and were concluded that July, with the legal revision of the agreement completed in February 2015. In November 2015, MEPs welcomed the proposed agreement, but called on Ecuador to address issues such as child labor, women's rights, and deforestation. Ecuador presented the European Parliament with a plan of action to resolve these development issues in June 2016.

The agreement has been provisionally applied with Peru since March 2013 and with Colombia since August 2013.

TAGS: European Commission | free trade agreement (FTA) | tariffs | trade treaty | Colombia | Ecuador | agreements | Peru | trade | Europe

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