Decision 598
Trade relations with third countries

IN EXTENDED MEETING OF THE ANDEAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS WITH THE ANDEAN COMMUNITY COMMISSION,

HAVING REVIEWED: Articles 1, 3, 50, 51, 52 and 86 of the Cartagena Agreement coded through Decision 563 and Decision 322 of the Andean Community Commission; and

WHEREAS:

The trade negotiations that the Member Countries are presently conducting with third countries offer opportunities and challenges for the Andean integration;

It is necessary to safeguard in such negotiations the values, principles and advantages of Andean integration respecting the objectives, mechanisms and institutions established in the Cartagena Agreement;

Article 86 of the Cartagena Agreement establishes that the "Member Countries undertake not to alter unilaterally the Common External Tariff; and to hold the necessary consultations within the Commission before entering into tariff commitments with countries other than the subregion countries. With a prior proposal of the General Secretariat and through a Decision, the Commission will give its opinion on such consultations and fix the terms that the tariff commitments should observe";

If a community negotiation is not possible, bilateral negotiations can be conducted; and

t is necessary to unify in a single Decision the rules governing the trade relations with third countries;

DECIDES:

Article 1.- The Member Countries can conduct preferentially community or joint negotiations, and exceptionally individual negotiations for trade agreements with third countries.

Article 2.- If it is not possible to conduct community negotiations for whatsoever reasons, the Member Countries can negotiate bilaterally with third countries. In such event, the participating Member Countries should:

a) Preserve the Andean legal system in the relations between the Andean Community Member Countries.

b) Take into account the commercial sensitivities of the other Andean countries in the trade liberalization offers.

c) Maintain within a transparency and solidarity framework an adequate exchange of information and consultations during the course of the negotiations.

Article 3.- The Member Country that decides to commence trade negotiations within the framework of this Decision, or has commenced them at the time it enters into effect, should notify the Andean Community Commission without delay and keep it permanently informed on the evolution and progress of such negotiations.

Article 4.- Prior to signing the Agreement, the Commission should be notified of the results of the negotiations, which should not be objected if the consultations provided for in Article 86 of the Cartagena Agreement and Article 2 of this Decision have been made.

Article 5.- Upon concluding the negotiations, the principle of the Most Favored Nation should be applied as provided for in the Andean legal system.

Article 6.- The purpose of the trade negotiations authorized through this Decision can be the establishment of free trade areas and may refer to topics other than the liberalization in the trade of goods.

Article 7.- Decision 322 of the Andean Community Commission is hereby revoked.

Given in the city of Quito, Republic of Ecuador, on July 12, 2004