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Allgeier praises growth of bilateral trade between Uruguay and the U.S.

US Embassy, Montevideo

Allgeier praises growth of bilateral trade between Uruguay and the U.S.

Deputy United States Trade Representative Peter F. Allgeier states recently signed BIT with Uruguay will raise investor confidence and lower the perceived country risk.

Posted: November 26, 2004

"On October 25, I traveled to Montevideo to sign a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the United States and Uruguay, the 39th such bilateral agreement that the U.S. has concluded around the world. The investment treaty crowned a year of negotiations within the framework of our Joint Commission on Trade and Investment. It is further cementing the growing trade relationship between our two countries.

The growth in our bilateral trade has been nothing short of exceptional over the past couple of years. The United States has become the first market for Uruguayan exports. So far this year, Uruguayan companies exported 470 million dollars to the U.S., or 286% more than in 2002. This represents about one fifth of all Uruguayan exports. U.S. investment has also experienced significant growth, whether it be in agro-industry, forestry, tourism or services. By the end of 2003, accumulated U.S. investment in Uruguay exceeded 600 million dollars.

Within this context, our Bilateral Investment Treaty levels the playing field and ensures that investors from both Uruguay and the U.S. are treated equitably through increased reciprocal protections. Key protections include an obligation to treat investors from the other country as favorably as national investors, to allow free and timely transfer of funds relating to an investment, and to provide prompt, adequate, and effective compensation in case of expropriation. The result of the signing of this treaty will be to raise investor confidence and lower the perceived country risk, thus creating the conditions for a deeper economic relationship, more direct investment and increased trade.

This latest BIT with Uruguay is only one of the numerous ways that the United States is actively engaged in promoting increased trade and investment in Latin America. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile, which went into effect earlier this year, has resulted in a significant growth in trade with Chile. Our decade-long trade agreement with Mexico, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, continues to flourish, with more than half of the 3.5 million new jobs created in Mexico since 1995 linked to trade. We have just begun a fifth round of a U.S.-Andean FTA and we recently completed negotiations of an FTA with five Central American nations. Taking into account FTA’s in effect, completed or under negotiation, our free trade efforts involve two-thirds of the Western Hemisphere’s population.

We in the United States know that our destiny is intrinsically linked to the well-being of our neighbors, and that our prosperity depends on their prosperity. We believe that trade and investment agreements are the necessary bond for the stronger and closer relationships that will allow all countries in this hemisphere to realize their full potential. The signing of our BIT with Uruguay is one more positive step in this direction."