Latin America Current Affairs

Union Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Uruguay for Cooperation in Customs Matters

The Union Cabinet has approved signing and ratifying an Agreement between India and Uruguay for cooperation and mutual assistance in Customs Matters.

The Agreement will help both countries in the availability of relevant information for the investigation and prevention of Customs offences.

Key Facts
  • The Agreement is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between both countries.
  • It also takes care of concerns and requirements of Indian Customs particularly in area of exchange of information on correctness of the Customs value declared, description of the goods traded between the two countries and the authenticity of certificates of origin of goods.
  • It will provide a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries.
  • It will also help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences and the facilitation of legitimate trade.
Background

Uruguay is one of the important trading partner of India among members of the MERCOSUR, a trading block in Latin America. India has signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the MERCOSUR which came into effect in June, 2009.  Trade between India and Uruguay has been expanding gradually.

About Mercosur

Mercosur is a sub-regional political and economic bloc of South American countries. It calls itself the common market of the South America. At present, it is a full customs union and a trading bloc. Its full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. It was established in 1991 and its headquarters are located at Montevideo (Uruguay). Its associate countries are Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname. Besides, New Zealand, Mexico are observer countries.

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Colombia Government, FARC rebels sign revised Peace Agreement

Colombian Government has signed revised peace agreement with the country’s largest rebel movement, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The revised document was signed between President Juan Manual Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono in Bogota, capital city of Colombia.

This is the second attempt undertaken by Colombian Government to end Latin America’s longest-running conflict (civil war) which has killed 220000 people. The previous deal singed September 2016 was rejected narrowly by the Colombian people in a popular vote held in October 2016.

The revised agreement will be submitted to Colombian Congress for approval, rather than put to a popular vote. It would not form a part of the Colombia’s constitution.

Key Facts

  • Within 90 days of approval of  revised agreement, FARC rebels will lay down their arms. Within five months they are required to completely surrender all weapons to the UN.
  • Under the new deal, rebels will have to declare their assets. The money will be used for reparation payments to victims of the conflict.
  •  However, the new agreement has not ban rebels from holding public office or includes jail terms.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2016 for his efforts to end the war.

Background

The civil war in Colombia is one of the longest civil wars in modern times and the sole remaining armed conflict in the South America. The five decade long civil war has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and internally displaced close to six million people. It was started in the 1960s as a rural uprising for land rights by FARC as communist-inspired guerrilla movement inspired by Cuban Revolution. The main aim of FARC was to reduce the gulf dividing rich and poor and land reform for equality in the Andean country. The conflict has drawn in various leftist rebel groups, drug gangs and right-wing paramilitaries over the decades. However in recent times, the FARC had shifted from their original ideology and were active in illegal drug trade, kidnapping and extortion activities.

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