Ecuador becomes the third of four Andean countries to conclude bilateral agreements with the EU. After Bolivia and Ecuador refused to sign a free trade agreement, the EU continued bilateral negotiations with Peru and Colombia. In April 2011, Colombia signed a text with the EU and the agreement with Peru is provisionally in force, although they are both awaiting ratification by the European Parliament. Meanwhile, Ecuador, which is defending an anti-FTA stance, continues to discuss a possible agreement with the EU. The agreement comes on the eve of a deadline that would have resulted in Ecuador losing some of its traditional trade preferences with the EU and follows a flurry of talks later this year. Four of the six EU roundtables with Ecuador were held this year. In the absence of a bilateral agreement, Ecuador would be transferred early next year to a regime that the EU would apply to developing countries with which it does not have a tailored agreement, the system of generalised preferences. Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht called the agreement “ambitious and comprehensive” and called Ecuador “one of the fastest growing markets for European companies in Latin America.” In 2013, THE EU`s trade with Ecuador amounted to 4.9 billion euros, with bananas accounting for about 30% of Ecuador`s exports to the EU amounting to 2.5 billion euros. The European Union and the Andean Community (Comunidad Andina de Naciones or CAN) have been working towards a bilateral trade and investment pact since 1993, when they first signed a framework cooperation agreement. In 2003, they signed a joint commitment in Rome to formally conclude an association agreement, “including a free trade agreement.” This was confirmed at the highest political level in Guadalajara in 2004. In May 2006, both sides agreed to begin the negotiation process as soon as possible. The Andean Community is made up of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. (Venezuela withdrew in 2006.
According to GRAIN`s analysis, the following objectives are pursued: to reduce taxes on foreign trade activities, including import and export duties; opening the country to uncontrolled trade flows; Changing quality and technical standards simplifying and limiting the application of sanitary and plant health measures; Unlimited access to raw materials, especially minerals; “maximum protection” of intellectual property rights; opening up all economic sectors and aspects of national life to European investment; direct or indirect privatization of all public services and state-owned enterprises; The requirement for governments to tender for all contracts and contracts for international tenders; Remove policies and programs to support and protect economic activities and domestic products.