Colombia, Peru, Ecuador negotiate unilateral trade agreements with UK

Last week, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador have begun a new round of negotiations with the United Kingdom, in the wake of the Brexit referendum and the UK/EU talks following it. The three countries already have trade agreements in place with the European Union.


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The sides at the negotiating table seem quite balanced, as it is no longer the case of a supranational community negotiating with individual states, but only one country in the process of establishing its alliances for the future. "Once out of the EU, we must look to the outside world and act as a beacon for free trade, by forging independent trade agreements with developing economies the world over," said UK minister Greg Hands to Colombian business daily La República. 

The United Kingdom has a population of 67 million. According to studies carried out by Colombian foreign-trade agency ProColombia, underwear and swimwear from the Latin American country are expected to enjoy a positive reception on the English market. UK domestic demand for fashion and apparel exceeds GBP44 billion annually. 

Peru and Ecuador, for their part, are looking to export alpaca, leather, footwear and beauty products to the UK. "The potential for trade is huge," said an executive from ProColombia.

Currency exchange rates are one of the factors that continue to play in favour of Latin American countries. Yet, even with special trade agreements in place, duties of up to 30% are levied in the UK on many Latin American apparel products, a situation which hopefully will improve.

The exports from Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to the UK have increased on average by 14% in the last 5 years.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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