Uruguayan president Jose Mujica said that Mercosur “is not moving forward or backwards” but is certainly working much better than the European Union where old experienced nations “made a mess of it”. Nevertheless, Uruguay will not stay put “licking its wounds”, it will look for other trade links.
Philip Morris asserts that fair and equitable treatment includes a right to a “stable and predictable regulatory framework” as well as rights under treaties in addition to customary international law.
One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is launching a claim against Uruguay for considering the country’s legislation commercially damaging to the company. Philip Morris corporation has filed a claim at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank branch.
Uruguay sees China as a ‘strategic partner’ and has kept good relations with Beijing since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1988, said Uruguayan Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro, a former ambassador to China from 2007-2009. Almagro made the statement as Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping begun his official visit to Uruguay.
Although in public former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner was supportive of Uruguay’s negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, members of his cabinet warned the US embassy in Buenos Aires that Argentina would block such an initiative in Mercosur, according to the contents of several Wikileaks cables published in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik was to open three days of talks in Uruguay Tuesday to advance plans for a trade pact with the region and to hear pleas to end Seoul’s ban on Uruguayan beef.
Uruguay’s Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a constitutional challenge brought by tobacco giant Philip Morris that disputes the tiny South American country’s anti-tobacco laws.
Uruguayan officials announced plans Thursday to take further steps to toughen controls on tobacco despite a pending legal battle with global cigarette powerhouse Philip Morris International.
Uruguay called on Brazil and Argentina to allow Mercosur junior members to reach unilateral trade agreements with third countries helping to boost the group’s dynamism.
A legal analysis of the challenge launched by Philip Morris International found the company to be both unjustified and unreasonable in its opposition to Uruguay’s new tobacco packaging laws.
The move is certain to be closely watched by international lawyers and policymakers alike, as it will serve as an early test-case of the little-used intellectual property protections contained in BITs.
Uruguay’s new health legislation, expected to go into effect in March 2010, requires that 80 percent of each side of cigarette boxes be covered by graphic images of the possible detrimental health effects of smoking. Philip Morris argues that this limits the space for branding and thus infringes on its intellectual property rights.
Mercosur presidential summit next week in Brazil has on the table an agenda of several highly sensitive issues that could deepen the rift between senior members Argentina and Brazil and junior members Paraguay and Uruguay, according to Uruguayan parliamentary sources.
As was anticipated Mercosur senior members Argentina and Brazil proposed Friday an increase of the common external tariff, (AEC) for certain products, and as was expected junior members Uruguay and Paraguay rejected the idea.
MERCOSUR "is barely surviving or far from the expectations for which it was created," said Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Gonzalo Fernandez, in declarations today to the weekly magazine Busqueda.
Uruguay formally proposed its Mercosur partners to begin a round of negotiations geared to reach trade agreements with the European Union, United States, South Korea and Canada.
Uruguay’s Economy minister Danilo Astori criticized export taxes and complained the fact Mercosur has allowed Argentina to apply them when “we all know this is a simple manipulation of the economy” which also has political effects.
Trade agreements with big blocs like the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or with the European Union have experienced a recent boost in Uruguay.
The Strategic Association Agreement signed by both countries promotes trade relations and cooperation in foreign affairs regarding shared principles in areas such as global trade, UN security policies and human rights.
Everything was in place for the beginning of the end of the long-running conflict: a friendlier face about to be sworn in as president in Argentina, a tiny bit of flexibility on the part of Uruguay, a few points of agreement, and a Spanish mediator appointed by the King.