A new free trade deal between the EU and eight Latin American countries comes into force.
The agreement gives Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama permanent access to the EU market, while the EU can profit from new markets for the export of goods and luxury goods.
The trade deal removes tariffs, liberalizes services and includes intellectual property rights. The European Parliament approved the deal on December 11, after it was signed by all parties in June.
With the new agreement, most of the Latin American countries now have trade pacts with both the EU and the US. The move see these nations drifting away from the continent's larger economies, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, which are hesitant of dropping trade barriers.
As global trade talks are stalled, the EU is trying to sign free trade deals with fast-growing economies in Asia and Latin America to stimulate its economy.