The Andean Community of Nations (CAN) has decided to suspend negotiations on a trade agreement with the European Union (EU), said reports reaching here from Brussels on Monday.
CAN requested to postpone talks with the EU scheduled for Tuesday in Brussels, as its members need more time to achieve consensus over the trade deal and reach a common negotiating position, according to reports from the Ecuadorian embassy in Brussels.
However, foreign ministers of Colombia and Peru Jaime Bermudez and Jose Garcia Belaunde will meet with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner respectively on Tuesday.
The two foreign ministers will also meet with representatives from the European Commission (EC), the executive body of the EU.
Talks over a trade pact between CAN and the EU stalled in June after the EU agreed to negotiate the accord separately with Colombia and Peru.
Peru and Colombia want bilateral negotiations with the EU, but Bolivia and Ecuador maintain that member countries have to forge a common front in this regard and negotiate with the EU in a single voice.
In mid-October, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said at a CAN meeting held in Ecuador that CAN, which groups Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, is definitely able to move forward in its negotiations with the EU "bloc to bloc," but it must adjust to the "different speed" of each member country.
Foreign ministers of the CAN member states will meet on Nov. 13 in Lima so as to remove some of the obstacles to a final agreement, said the reports.
Exports from the Andean bloc to the EU totalled 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, mostly raw materials and farm products such as bananas; while EU's exports to the bloc exceeded 8 billion dollars, according to CAN data.