By Gabriel Guardado
Central America is currently in the final stages of agreeing to an Association Agreement with the European Union, which includes free trade, cooperation and channels for political dialog. The language has been agreed upon, including its charter, which refers to trade and competition.
Through the trade and competition charter, Central America commits to establish within the next 7 years, after the entry into force of the agreement, regional competition legislation and a regional competition authority, in accordance to Article 25 of the Protocolo al Tratado General de Integración Económica Centroamericana (Protocolo de Guatemala) and Article 21 of the Convenio Marco para el Establecimiento de la Unión Aduanera Centroamericana (Guatemala, 2007).
Although the plans for the establishment of this organization and legislation were already on the Central American agenda as a part of its integration efforts, the region has now acquired an international commitment from the European Union, adding motivation and momentum to the cause and giving added support to other aspects of the "Association Agreement". The effort to integrate Central America has been ongoing since 1951 when the original agreement was signed.
The text of the Agreement can be found on the web page of the Ministry of the Economy of El Salvador over here.