E.U.-Central America trade talks still sticky

February 6, 2009

Last week´s sixth round of negotiations between the European Union and Central America have both parties on “a good track” toward a final agreement, officials involved in the talks said.

The round, which ended Feb. 3 in Brussels, saw the two sides reach agreement on normative issues such as governance, dispute resolution, political dialogue and human rights. But trade — particularly tariffs on beef, rum, sugar and bananas — remains a sticking point, Costa Rican negotiator Fernando Ocampo told The Tico Times.

The Central American countries made an offer on beef and rum, “products of interest to the EU,” Ocampo said. The EU, meanwhile, offered to lower its own tariffs on banana and sugar, but the cuts were not deep enough to satisfy the Central American countries.

“They were still far from what we had hoped for,” Ocampo said of the EU offer. “But it is a starting point to reach an agreement.”

Read Feb. 11´s Tico Times for more on this story.

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