EU governments agree to review Chile trade deal

EU-Chile trade is geared heavily towards food, as well as machinery and transport. [Shutterstock]

EU governments agreed on Monday (13 November) to update the EU-Chile Association Agreement, with a first round of talks pencilled in for 16 November.

EU-Chile trade relations are governed by an agreement that was first brokered in 2002 and includes a free trade pact that entered into force in 2003. That deal will now be given a comprehensive update to include a “more inclusive distribution of the benefits of trade”.

The existing agreement eliminates certain trade barriers, establishes clear and transparent rules for exporters and importers, and strengthens the protection of intellectual property rights.

According to a statement by the European Economic and Social Committee’s EU-Chile Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), the modernisation of the agreement should make it more transparent and include contributions from civil society.

Certain consideration will also be given to geographical indications and non-tariff barriers.

EU wants gender chapter included in Chile trade deal update

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström wants to include a chapter on gender equality in an update to the bloc’s trade deal with Chile, which is due to be negotiated soon. EURACTIV Spain reports.

JCC also called for a specific chapter on SMEs and micro-enterprises and to put in place a framework that allows for the easy transfer of knowledge between the two partners. The committee said that this would boost innovation and revitalisation of the economy.

The updated proposal also prioritises implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), brokered in 2015, and the JCC has called for the update to take a multilateral approach and include a “strong and ambitious” chapter on trade and sustainable development.

Trade between Chile and the EU has nearly doubled in worth since the deal entered into force, from €7.7billion to €15.9bn last year. The EU is also the South American country’s second biggest trade partner with nearly 15% of Chile’s total trade coming from Europe.

Imports to the EU focus primarily on food and live animals, as well as manufactured goods, while exports are mostly machinery and transport. Trade in services has increased from €4.7bn in 2013 to €5.8bn in 2015. The EU is also Chile’s biggest foreign investor.

This latest review adds to an already packed EU trade negotiating agenda, which includes the ongoing EU-Mercosur wrangling, finalisation of the Japan deal and ambitions to strike a deal with Australia and New Zealand, which MEPs will consider in this week’s Strasbourg plenary session.

Mercosur nations prioritise end-of-year EU trade deal

At its biannual summit last week, South American trade bloc Mercosur confirmed that it intends to finalise an agreement with the EU by the end of the year. But experts warn that this timeframe might be too ambitious for a full-blown deal. EURACTIV Spain reports.