Central American negotiators expect Europe to improve its offer for sugar, coffee, banana, meat and rum.
This week’s negotiations are key for the Central American region, as the fate of the so called ‘sensitive products’ will be defined.
The negotiation will begin with considerable differences in what each side has conceded so far. Central America has allowed immediate access for 3.116 tariff lines, 47.49% of the total, plus gradually removing tariffs on 3.445 lines. Europe offered immediate access to 8.845 lines, 90.94% of the total, plus gradually removing tariffs on 880 additional lines.
The Canadian company signed an option agreement for further exploration of the Zungano concession in Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua.
The Company has agreed to make expenditures totaling US$ 4.92 million over 51 months including exploration work, social programs, and payments to the current concession holder. If these obligations are fulfilled the concession will be totally controlled by the Company and the current owner will retain a residual royalty on gold sales of 1.5 percent to a maximum total of US$ 10 million.
The new offer increases the quota for sugar from Central America that can enter the European Union without tariffs to 100,000 tons.
According to La Prensa Gráfica, the president of the Sugar Association of El Salvador, Armando Arias, indicated that "the Minister of the Economy said publicly that he knew–off the record-that the EU might offer up to 100,000 tons to Central America.”
Central America's sugar export earnings are expected to drop this year by some US$60 million following a drop in production of about 5 million quintals.
The Central American Sugar Producers' Association (AICA) met April 25 in Panama where they updated projections for this year's harvest. While output looks like being down overall, "serious falls" are expected in Guatemala and Nicaragua.