The Plataforma Europa Perú (PEP), of which the Peru Support Group is an active member, last week issued the text of a note in which it welcomed the response of the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, to the Peruvian government over implementation of agreements on sustainable development. The commissioner’s letter is dated 30 July, and a full text can be viewed here.

In the letter addressed to the Peruvian minister for tourism and foreign trade, Rogers Martín Valencia, Malmstrom made abundantly clear her concern for the failure fully to honour Title IX of the EU-Peruvian Free Trade Agreement. She insists that the government put in place an action plan to remedy these deficiencies, especially in the areas of labour rights and the environment.

Peru’s shortcomings in this respect lay at the core of an official complaint by Peruvian NGOs last October. A total of 27 Peruvian NGOs signed this complaint, alongside the PEP.

In her letter, the commissioner highlights the need for a civil society counterpart which appears not to exist. “We have no clear indication of the composition of these groups”, she says “the frequency of their meetings, or indeed if they have even discussed the implementation of this Title”. The lack of such a clear counterpart, she says “hinders an effective dialogue” on matters of sustainable development.

The letter highlights concern about the implementation of Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on freedom of association and the protection of collective bargaining procedures, as well as matters such as child labour.

On the environment, Malmstrom’s letter spells out that simplification of environmental administration “should not lead to a lowering of the level of environmental protection”.

The commissioner expresses her hope that Peru will provide an action plan on these matters before the next meeting of the bilateral committee dealing with implementation of the FTA scheduled for Quito this autumn.

Among the individual points summarised in an annex to her letter, Malmstrom points to the need to set up a national advisory group to debate matters related to the Implementation of Chapter IX.

For its part, the PEP echoes the need for a detailed action plan on how to overcome the obstacles encountered so far to honouring Peru’s international obligations on labour and environmental issues.