EEC-Central America Framework Cooperation Agreement

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EEC-Central America Framework Cooperation Agreement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EEC-Central America Framework Cooperation Agreement


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External relations > Relations with third countries > Latin america

EEC-Central America Framework Cooperation Agreement

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 1999/194/EC of 22 February 1999 concerning the conclusion of a framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – Exchange of letters on maritime transport – Unilateral declarations.


The Agreement, signed on 22 February 1993 in San Salvador, aims to strengthen and diversify relations between the two parties in the areas of economic, financial, commercial, social, science and technology and environmental cooperation. The parties also undertake to promote the intensification and consolidation of the Central American Integration System.

Areas of cooperation

The Agreement advocates various areas of cooperation. Economic cooperation must be of the widest possible scope, from which no field of activity is excluded in principle. The aim is to strengthen economic links while contributing to the sustainable development of the countries’ economies and raising standards of living. Key issues for achieving this objective are investment, transfers of technology, job creation, improved productivity, rural development, modernisation policies and the Central American Integration Process. Promoting technical assistance, joint ventures, contacts between businessmen, research projects and exchanges of information are recommended.

Trade cooperation is based on the most-favoured nation principle. The parties are encouraged to develop trade and carry out studies to eliminate obstacles to trade, notably non-tariff barriers. The parties undertake to support trade promotion activities and facilitate cooperation between their customs services.

In the industrial cooperation sector, the parties aim to expand and diversify the Central American countries’ production base in the industrial and service sectors. Joint business initiatives and cooperation involving small and medium-sized enterprises designed to facilitate their access to sources of capital, markets and appropriate technology are envisaged. To that end, the Agreement encourages the consolidation of networks, the use of Community promotional instruments (in particular “EC Investment Partners” – ECIP) and cooperation between businessmen.

The parties also agree to promote investment, notably through promotion and protection agreements. Training businessmen and providing technical assistance are other ways of achieving this aim. The parties must also endeavour to foster cooperation between financial institutions, encouraging exchanges of information, experience and experts.

Cooperation in science and technology is also part of the Agreement, and should be encouraged in all areas. The environment, renewable energy, tropical agriculture, nutrition, housing, communications and biotechnology are among the areas mentioned. In order to achieve this cooperation objective, the Agreement encourages training and the exchange and distribution of information.

The aim of cooperation in standards is to reduce differences in respect of weights and measures, standardisation and certification by encouraging the use of compatible systems of standards and certification.

Ensuring suitable and effective protection for intellectual and industrial property rights, including geographical designations and marks of origin, is laid down in the Agreement.

On mining cooperation, the parties have agreed to promote cooperation by encouraging the involvement of enterprises in the exploration, mining and marketing of resources, to set up activities to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the mining sector, and to exchange experience and technology.

Joint efforts are also called upon in the energy sector for planning, conservation and the efficient use of energy, and the search for new sources of energy, taking environmental implications into consideration.

Cooperation in the field of information technology and telecommunications is also included in the Agreement. The aim is to promote investment, standardisation and new information technologies.

The aims of environmental cooperation are the protection, conservation, improvement and management of the environment. Efforts must focus on water, air and soil pollution, erosion, desertification, deforestation, over-exploitation of natural resources, urban concentration and the productive conservation of wild and aquatic flora and fauna. The competent Central American bodies must be strengthened and environmental education promoted.

Biological diversity should be preserved. Cooperation in this area should take socio-economic utility, ecological conservation and the interests of indigenous populations into account.

As regards development cooperation, the parties will seek to establish a multiannual programme. Priority will be given to projects designed to meet the vital needs of the poorest of the Central American people, giving particular attention to women and to environmental problems closely linked to development dynamics. Measures should be carried out jointly to act against extreme poverty, soften the impact of the structural adjustment programmes and encourage job creation.

The Agreement also covers cooperation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas to develop trade and eliminate possible obstacles to trade, such as health, plant health, animal health and environmental measures.

Fisheries cooperation must be intensified as regards the evaluation of resources, artisanal fishing and aquaculture.

The aim of health cooperation is to improve public health, concentrating on developing joint research, transfers of technology, exchanges of experience and technical assistance. Training for basic health workers, the prevention of AIDS, mother-and-child healthcare and the prevention and treatment of cholera are particularly encouraged.

The parties also undertake to coordinate and step up their efforts to prevent, reduce and eradicate the illegal production, distribution and consumption of drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances.

Cooperation in assistance for refugees, displaced persons and returnees is also provided for, as is the consolidation of the democratic process in Central America. To this end, the parties agree to support the organisation and monitoring of free and transparent elections, the consolidation of the rule of law, respect for human rights and the participation of the entire population without discrimination.

Another cooperation aim is Central America’s regional integration. The parties are encouraged to promote subregional and intraregional trade, upgrade regional institutions, purse joint policies and activities, and develop regional communications.

The parties also agree to cooperate in the field of government, in matters of administration and institutional organisation, including the organisation of the legal system.

Support and exchange of information are also foreseen in the areas of transport, tourism, training, and information, communication and culture.


The parties undertake to make available the requisite resources for achieving the objectives of this Agreement, including financial resources. Wherever possible, multiannual programming will be carried out and priorities determined.

The Joint Committee established pursuant to the 1985 Cooperation Agreement is retained. Its role is to see to the proper functioning and coordination of the Agreement.

The Agreement does not affect the powers of the Member States of the European Union to undertake bilateral activities with the Central American countries in the field of economic cooperation.


The Agreement is concluded for a period of five years and is renewed tacitly for successive one-year periods unless one of the parties denounces it to the other party in writing six months before the date of expiry. Denouncement by one of the Latin American countries will not affect the validity of the Agreement in respect of the other parties.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 1999/194/EC and Framework Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama


OJ L 63 of 12.3.1999

Related Acts

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one part, and the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, on the other part, was signed in December 2003. It will replace the 1993 agreement once it is ratified by all the parties.

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