Policy paper

The Second Conquest

The EU Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru

On 19 May 2010, at the margins of the EU-Latin America summit in Madrid, the EU, Peru and Colombia announced the conclusion of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). However, the FTA will not yet come into force as it still has to be endorsed by the European Council, the European Parliament and the Peruvian and Colombian Congress. Since this treaty qualifies as a so-called ‘mixed agreement’, which falls outside the exclusive competence of the EU, additional ratification by the parliaments of the 27 EU member states will also be necessary. The European Council will first meet to make a decision on this classification. Then the European Parliament is expected to debate the Treaty in the second half of 2011. Meanwhile, due to the FTA’s social and environmental impacts, opposition is growing not only within civil society but also among several members of parliament. The agreement has been overwhelmingly opposed by trade unions and social movements in the Andean Community and the European Union.

This publication contains an overview of the FTA’s history, of human rights violations in Colombia and Peru as well as a critical analysis of the draft agreement which recently leaked to the public. It appears that the main beneficiaries of the agreement would be European transnational corporations (TNCs) working in Colombia and Peru. The text, therefore, describes European TNCs’ activities in these two Andean countries and their involvement in human rights violations, particularly in commercial agriculture and extractive industries like mining and petroleum.

The analysis concentrates on the possible impacts of enforced liberalisation of goods and services trade, foreign direct investments and intellectual property rights. Special emphasis is placed on the far-reaching provisions concerning intellectual property rights since these might foster biopiracy and endanger access to medicines and seeds. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the draft treaty only contains very weak provisions on environmental and labour standards. Most notably, the draft lacks effective sanctions and enforcement provisions to tackle violations of international environmental and labour law.

This publication is part of a joint project of the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam and the Center for Research and Documentation Chile- Latin America (Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika – FDCL) in Berlin. For several years now, both institutions have been challenging the trade agenda of the European Union by raising awareness of the social and environmental impacts of the free trade and association agreements the EU negotiates with Latin American and other countries in the world. Together with social movements in Europe and the Global South, TNI and FDCL are putting forward alternatives to the EU’s neoliberal trade and investment regime


1 Introduction 
2 Divide and Conquer: Destroying the Andean Community
3 Human Rights Violations in Colombia
3.1 European Extractivism: Land Grabbing and Brute Force
4 Human Rights Violations in Peru
5 Law of the Strongest: The Free Trade Agreement
5.1 Monopolisation of Medicines and Seeds
5.2 Legalisation of Biopiracy
5.3 Toothless Social and Environmental Standards
6 Stopping the Treaty
6.1 After Lisbon: The Ratification Process


Published by:
Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika
– FDCL e.V.
Gneisenaustraße 2a, D-10961 Berlin, Germany
Fon: +49 30 693 40 29 / Fax: +49 30 692 65 90
eMail: info@fdcl.org / Internet: http://www.fdcl.org
Transnational Institute (TNI)
PO Box 14656, 1001 LD Amsterdam, Niederlande
Fon: + 31 20 662 66 08 / Fax: + 31 20 675 71 76
eMail: tni@tni.org / Internet: http://www.tni.org
Author: Thomas Fritz
Layout: Mathias Hohmann
Publisher: FDCL-Verlag, Berlin
Cover photo: Miguel Araoz, Quisca producciónes, Peru / Protests against
high food prices in Cuzco (Peru), December 2008.
Acknowledgement: Special thanks for help and comments to Cecilia Olivet and Nick Buxton of TNI.
This project is funded by the European Union.
© FDCL-Verlag, Berlin, 2010 | ISBN: 978-3-923020-50-8



DISCLAIMER: This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the
sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
This publication is published within the framework of the EU funded project ‚Just Trade‘. The project advocates for greater policy
coherence between EU development and trade policy, with a view to promote equitable and sustainable development. Partners in the
project are: Ecologistas en Acción (Spain), FDCL (Germany), Glopolis (Czech Republic), Protect the Future (Hungary) and Transnational
Institute (Netherlands). The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the publishing organisation(s).