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Europe

Monday, September 30, 2013


Three Central American countries now have a free trade agreement with the European Union.

The other three countries should soon be part of the deal, which creates a new market for the region’s sugar.

It also creates benefits for Central American exporters of tropical fruits, especially banana and pineapple.

Meanwhile the region’s consumers will pay lower prices for various European products.

The so-called “association agreement” mainly applies to trade.

The European Union doesn’t have enough money to provide financial and technical support, wich were supposed to be included in the deal.

Costa Rica joined the deal this week, following Panama and Honduras, which started last August.

The other countries of the region are expected to be part of the agreement, as soon as various procedural issues are resolved.

Under the terms of the agreement, Central American sugar growers will be able to sell significant amounts to the EU, with no tax.

Sugar producers currently face a 34% duty, which makes it impossible to export to Europe.

In addition, Central American banana and pineapple producers will face low duties, compared to the amounts, which they pay today.

As far as imports are concerned, Central American barriers to trade will fall, reducing the cost to local consumers of wine and liquor, as well as various types of cheese and ham.