Central America

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on ratification of the EU-Central America Association Agreement; when he expects the UK to ratify the agreement; and when the two remaining pillars will be applied.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

We strongly support the EU-Central American Association Agreement, which was signed in 2012. The Agreement supports our policy objectives for Central America via three important pillars of political dialogue, development cooperation and trade. We believe that these are the right tools to support economic growth, democracy and political stability in Central America and the UK has supported the Agreement’s progress through its negotiation, signature and conclusion stages.

The trade pillar of the Association Agreement has been provisionally applied since 2013. The two remaining pillars will be applied as soon as the remaining EU Member States ratify. I have not had any recent discussions with my EU counterparts on this issue. However, I have recently discussed the Agreement with a number of Ambassadors to the UK from Central American countries and have had the occasion to discuss it while visiting the region – most recently on my visits to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama last year. The preparatory work prior to ratification is ongoing. The next stage will be to seek parliamentary approval for a draft Order in Council that will specify the Association Agreement as an EU treaty. I expect a draft Order to be laid early in the next Parliament.

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