On 26 May 1969 an agreement was signed by Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru establishing the Cartagena Agreement (also referred to as the Andean Pact or the Andean Group). Chile withdrew from the Group in 1976. Venezuela, which was actively involved, did not sign the agreement until 1973. In 1997 Peru announced its withdrawal for five years. In 2006 Venezuela left as a result of Colombia and Peru signing bilateral trade agreements with the USA.
The Andean Free Trade Area came into effect on 1 Feb. 1993 as the first step towards the creation of a common market. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have fully liberalized their trade. A Common External Tariff for imports from third countries has been in effect since 1 Feb. 1995.
In March 1996 at the Group’s 8th summit in Trujillo in Peru, the then member countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela) set up the Andean Community, to promote greater economic, commercial and political integration between member countries under a new Andean Integration System (SAI).
The member countries and bodies of the Andean Integration System are working to establish an Andean Common Market and to implement a Common Foreign Policy, a social agenda, a Community policy on border integration, and policies for achieving joint macroeconomic targets.
Organization. The Andean Presidential Council, composed of the presidents of the member states, is the highest-level body of the Andean Integration System (SAI). The Commission and the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers are legislative bodies. The General Secretariat is the executive body and the Andean Parliament is the deliberative body of the SAI. The Court of Justice, which began operating in 1984, resolves disputes between members and interprets legislation. The SAI has other institutions: Andean Development Corporation (CAF), Latin American Reserve Fund (FLAR), Simón Bolívar Andean University, Andean Business Advisory Council, Andean Labour Advisory Council and various Social Agreements.
Further to the treaty signed by 12 South American countries in May 2008, it is anticipated that the Andean Community will gradually be integrated into the Union of South American Nations.
Official language: Spanish.
Headquarters: Avda Paseo de la República 3895, San Isidro, Lima 27, Peru.
Secretary-General: Walker San Miguel (Bolivia).