Uruguay has a nominally progressive government that came to power on the strength of its critique of neoliberalism. However, one segment of the current Frente Amplio administration has leaned in favour of seeking FTA-type economic agreements. There is ongoing discord within the government around the possible signing of an FTA with the US.
Uruguay is a member of Mercosur, which prohibits member countries from signing bilateral FTAs, and the Uruguayan government’s stance has caused significant tensions within Mercosur, at times bringing it to the verge of dissolution.
Intense debate has taken place within the government itself. So far, the faction opposed to FTAs has won out.
Nevertheless, Uruguay signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) with the US in January 2007. Many observers saw this as a first step towards the signing of an FTA.
Since José "Pepe" Mujica (also with Frente Amplio) took the presidency in March 2010, a new period in Uruguay’s foreign policy began and the country no longer discusses an FTA with the US.
last update: May 2012
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”.
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.