Chile, EU to start talks to update Free Trade Deal

SANTIAGO – The European Union and Chile will launch talks this week to update their existing free trade agreement after EU foreign ministers gave their backing on Monday to the start of negotiations.

Besides strengthening cooperation, the move aims at reducing consumer prices, improve market access and create opportunities for growth and employment.

Political and economic ties between the E.U. and Chile are governed by an association agreement signed in 2002. The new agreement would seek to update what was agreed at that time.

Regarding trade issues, with the current agreement, “Chilean exports of agricultural and food products and services to the E.U. have almost tripled, and E.U. exports to Chile have doubled in most sectors,” the European Council said in a statement.

However, the Council emphasized that the existing agreement does not address some important trade and investment issues, such as specific provisions on investment, non-tariff barriers, intellectual property rights and some geographical indications and contributions to sustainable development that will be discussed in the updated agreement.

The first round of negotiations will be held in Brussels on Thursday. A second round will take place in early 2018.