The EU is the second-largest trading partner (after the USA) of the Latin American and Caribbean countries (LAC). The European Commission is presently in the process of negotiating association agreements with three Latin American regional trading associations, a result of the fact that the EU has traditionally preferred multilateral treaties to bilateral ones as a means of its international trade policy. These negotiations have proved to be very complex and progress is difficult. Will the two-yearly meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the EU and the LAC in Peru in May 2008 take place under the sign of a return to a policy with more emphasis on bilateral agreements? The recent agreement with Brazil seems to point in this direction.
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