Peru's President Alejandro Toledo wants the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) summit set for next Tuesday to push forward negotiations on a trade pact with the European Union, the CAN announced on Wednesday.
In a statement, CAN Secretary General Allan Wagner said he met with Toledo late Tuesday and that "President Toledo expressed his wish that the Quito Summit will send a clear political message to the European Union that the CAN is determined to fulfill the agreements reached in the recent Vienna Summit."
During their fourth summit held last month in Vienna, Latin American countries and the 25-member European bloc declared "a historic step" with both sides vowing to intensify efforts to conclude a trade pact.
Austria's Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel, who hosted the summit as his country is holding the current EU presidency, said the bilateral trade volume currently stood at 110 billion euros (around 132 billion U.S. dollars), and that the European Union was the world's biggest provider of development assistance in Latin America.
Late last month, the CAN chief said the agenda of the upcoming Quito Summit would include the progress of the negotiations with the European Union for an association agreement, which were begun in Vienna during the May 11-13 EU-Latin America summit. The CAN is also expected to discuss a Bolivian request for Washington to extend the Andean Preferential Tariffs Accord.
At the same meeting next week, the CAN, originally grouping Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, will discuss the political situation of the bloc following Venezuela's recent withdrawal in response to Colombia and Peru's signing of free trade deals with the United States.