European and Central American negotiators will meet again in Brussels between 22 and 26 February to resume talks on the bi-regional EU - Central America Association Agreement, aiming at a rapid conclusion of the already very advanced negotiations.
The Association Agreement aims at bringing together both regions in a comprehensive partnership covering political dialogue on important issues such as human rights, climate change, science and technology, and global governance. It will also contain a development cooperation and a free trade agreement component. With this free trade agreement part the EU and Central America will grant each other preferential access for their products, services and investments. The EU is an important market for Central American products such as bananas, coffee, shrimps, fish, but also many manufactured goods and Central America has a huge potential as a destination for EU exports and investment in a number of areas.
The European Commission will negotiate on behalf of the European Union with representatives from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Panama already participates in the talks as an observer and internal procedures are underway in both the EU and Central America in order to formalise its full membership in the negotiations.
An intensive negotiation schedule has been foreseen with an intercessional meeting between trade negotiators at the end of March and another full round of negotiations covering all three pillars at the end of April.
A debriefing to the press will take place at the end of the negotiating session on Friday 26th at 17.15 in the centre Borschette (Rue Froissart 36).
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