State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology Anne Ruth Herkes today in Brussels signed the free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia and Peru on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. This marks the successful conclusion of a negotiation process that started in 2007 under the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union and lasted about five years. The agreement aims to reduce barriers to market access and to improve export opportunities in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.
State Secretary Herkes said: "Being one of the booming areas of the world, Latin America is an important market for our German businesses. Owing to their open markets and their integration in global trade, Colombia and Peru record impressive growth rates that are exemplary for Latin America. The free trade agreement is expected to enable European and in particular German firms to make even better use of the resulting possibilities. In return, Colombia and Peru will have better opportunities to keep on their growth track thanks to improved market access to the EU. All parties concerned will benefit from this clear commitment of the EU to open markets and against protectionism."
The European Parliament is expected to adopt the free trade agreement in autumn. This means that the agreement will presumably enter into force this year - at least provisionally.
In 2011 Germany's trade volume with Colombia and Peru rose by 31.5 percent and 14 percent respectively. Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) expects Colombia's GDP to grow by 4.7 percent in 2012. With growth expected to reach 5.5 percent, Peru will presumably be leading among the Latin American countries. Pursuant to the agreement, tariffs will be completely abolished for industrial goods.