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Trade agreement still elusive weeks before joint summit of the EU and Latin America

Weeks before the European Union (EU) and Latin American nations come together in a joint summit in Peru, it appears unlikely that the two sides will reach an agreement on a proposed free trade deal.

Negotiations have been underway for the past 11 years, but remain mired in disagreement. Central to the stalled talks is the topic of agricultural imports. European countries, while open to an expansion of trade with Latin America, have been hesitant to lower tariffs on the region’s agricultural exports, which they see as a threat to their domestic producers. Latin American nations, meanwhile, are seeking more access to EU markets.

In addition, disagreements over rules governing services, labour, and government procurement have further hampered negotiations. The issue of Intellectual Property Rights has been another sticking point in the talks.

The current impasse is a setback for the two regions, as a free trade agreement would likely benefit both sides. Their economies are largely complementary and a trade deal could provide new employment opportunities and investments.