The European Commission's Evaluation And Fitness Check Roadmap: An Opportunity To Improve The Eu-Central America Association Agreement

Author:Ms Amal Bouchenaki and Silvia Marroquin
Profession:Herbert Smith Freehills

On 29 June 2012, the European Union and the six partner countries in Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama - signed an Association Agreement ( the EU-Central America Association Agreement) (the “Association Agreement“). The purpose of this FTA was to develop trade and investment relations between parties.

On 13 May 2019, the European Commission published an Evaluation and Fitness Check Roadmap on the Association Agreement to assess the economic, social, human rights, and environmental impact of the trade agreement since it was first implemented.

The Evaluation is part of the European Commission's Better Regulation agenda which requires that every Directorate-General of the European Commission consult citizens and stakeholders to identify areas of development of European Union legislation. The results are intended to help improve the implementation of the agreement and are expected to be of assistance for recently concluded FTAs.

Trade between the European Union and Central America

The European Union and Central America's economic integration processes have evolved concurrently. A few years after the creation of the European Economic Community, Central America created the Central American Common Market (MCCA) tariff system. Despite the growth of interregional trade, it was not until the 1990s that the consolidation of a trade framework became a strategic priority. In 1991, the creation of the Central America Integration System (SICA) established the region's institutional system, followed by the signature of the Guatemala Protocol in 1993, which materialized the region's commitment to build a customs union.

In this context of fortification of the free trade zone and encouragement of intraregional foreign trade, Central America and the European Union signed the Framework Cooperation Agreement in 1993. The European Union has been a strategic partner in Central America's economic integration process, by focusing its trade policy on bilateral trade and the creation of a customs union. In the past decades, both regions have taken active steps towards concluding an agreement that includes a free trade area.1

The EU-Central America Association Agreement

The Association Agreement aims at strengthening economic relations by increasing the stability and predictability of the trade and investment environment, and promoting sustainable development in both regions. It was designed as a means to diversify...

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