The EU Foreign Affairs Council Thursday approved the signing and provisional application of a multipartite Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia and Peru.
The agreement, initialled in March 2011, sets out to eliminate high tariffs, tackle technical barriers to trade, liberalise services markets, protect EU geographical indications and open up public procurement markets, said the Council in a statement.
Based on the principle of regional integration, the agreement remains open for signature by Bolivia and Ecuador, the other two members of the Andean Community, a trade bloc comprising the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
In a related development, the Council also adopted a decision to start negotiations with Vietnam on the FTA.
Vietnam will be the third ASEAN country to negotiate a FTA with the EU and talks are expected to start shortly.
FTA negotiations are already underway between the EU and Singapore and Malaysia.