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EU Interested In Free LatAm Trade

Council of the European Union President Dalia Grybauskaite has met with members of the Executive Bureau of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) to discuss an EU-Latin American strategic partnership, economic cooperation, development cooperation, environmental issues, climate change, and international migration.

The meetings of the standing parliamentary committees started on July 16 in Vilnius with 150 members of the European Parliament and Latin-American parliamentarians taking part.

Grybauskaite underlined that the European Union was interested in promoting open and free trade with the Latin American region, which is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The EU is also the largest foreign investor in the region. Its total investments amount to EUR400bn (USD523bn), accounting for almost half of all foreign investment in Latin American countries.

The President said that negotiations over free trade agreements with the EU's strategic partners, including Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela were high on the Lithuanian EU Presidency agenda.

The strategic partnership between the European Union and the Latin American and Caribbean region was formed in 1999. Three years ago, a comprehensive action plan was approved at the Madrid Summit, which set forth the guidelines for advancing EU-Latin American relations. It placed special focus on sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, women's rights, education, research, climate change, and migration.

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