The EU–Peru/Colombia trade agreement
Balancing, accommodation or driver of change?
in Latin America–European Union relations in the twenty-first century
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In 2012 the EU signed a trade agreement with Peru and Colombia, to which Ecuador subscribed in 2016, having abandoned regional-to-region negotiations with the Andean Community in favour of finalising an agreement with the countries that had already completed agreements with the United States. This chapter explores how the long shadow of the US, so often used to describe the nature of the EU’s relation with Latin America, emerged again in the rationales and negotiations of this modern trade agreement. It traces the impact of the US and its commercial policy on the EU–Peru/Colombia negotiations and on the negotiated outcomes, portraying EU–US competition underlying the EU–Peru/Colombia trade agreement in shaping the context of negotiations as an exercise in geo-economic balancing. The chapter also examines the initial stages of implementation of the agreement, paying particular attention to the controversial Trade and Sustainable Development chapter. The analysis concludes that the trade agreement on its own has not driven major policy changes in the Andean countries but has bolstered broader international commitments to changes in labour laws and policy reforms by creating additional pressure and accountability mechanisms. In so doing the chapter highlights the importance of contextualising trade agreements as one aspect of broader international relations between the EU and Latin American countries.

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