Feet firmly planted, Juan Castillo, coordinator of Uruguay’s PIT-CNT central union plugged his nose at the visit of US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez here Monday.
Uruguay and United States resumed on Thursday trade and investment talks in Washington with the purpose of increasing bilateral exchanges.
Although Uruguay and Chile belong to Mercosur and have a wide ranging agreement dating back to 1996, Uruguay’s goal is to reach “a free trade agreement similar to that with Mexico”.
Uruguay has warned that it will consider downgrading its status in Mercosur if the regional trade bloc prevents it from making a bilateral trade deal with the US.
Presidents from Uruguay and Brazil, meeting in Colonia Monday, seem to have smoothed strained economic and political ties with promises of stronger bilateral relations and a new boost to the battered Mercosur block, although Argentina, just fifty kilometers away was not present at the summit.
The Brazilian Foreign Relations Minister, Celso Amorin, argued that Mercosur would prefer to negotiate bilaterally with the US than to try to save the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.
On January 25, Uruguay signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States that could ultimately dismantle Mercosur and isolate Uruguay in the southern cone.
After huge internal controversy and strong opposition from the rest of the members of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc, Uruguay has agreed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States.
Uruguay and United States will sign next week a trade and investment agreement, short of a full free trade agreement, to strengthen bilateral trade relations. If Uruguay finally signs a free trade agreement, it would help United States break Mercosur unity.
The US-Uruguay BIT is the first BIT the United States has concluded since 1999, and is the first BIT concluded on the basis of the US model BIT text, which was finalized in 2004.
Adults in Uruguay are split over a proposed commerce deal with the United States, according to a poll by Interconsult published in Últimas Noticias. 49 per cent of respondents oppose signing the free trade agreement, while 43 per cent are in favour.
Uruguay discarded the option of a free trade agreement with United States and counter proposed negotiations on the basis of the Trade Investment Framework Agreement.
Hundreds of Uruguayan workers marched July 18 in front of the Economy Ministry in this capital to reject signing of a US free trade treaty.
Uruguay Labor groups demanding higher wages and an end to Uruguayan efforts for a trade deal with Washington walked off the job for four hours on Thursday, though public transport ran normally and shops and offices stayed open.
Ambasadors from three Latin American nations will present in Montevideo the foundations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), in a specialized meeting to be held at the Republic’s state University.
The US-Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) will benefit the economies of both countries, is an important step toward closer economic cooperation between the two nations and reflects the United States’ commitment to explore and expand economic opportunities in the Western Hemisphere, say senior U.S. officials.
Long taken for granted by its much larger neighbors, Uruguay suddenly finds itself one of the main fronts in the struggle between the United States and Venezuela for dominance in South America. Washington is offering a free-trade agreement that would pull Uruguay into the United States’ orbit and weaken Mercosur, the regional trade group to which Uruguay and Venezuela belong. Mr. Chávez has countered with attention-getting investments, subsidized oil, acts of charity and a growing alliance with left-wing factions of the ruling Broad Front.
Two articles by Roberto Bissio, analysing the irreparable mistakes that Uruguay could be making in case of signing an FTA with the United States with regards to the imposition of intellectual property regulations and the opening of state services to competition.
Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez said after a meeting with opposition leaders on Monday that his country will negotiate a trade agreement with the United States "as far as possible".