Ecuador Hesitant over FTA with US
Quito, Oct 24, 2005 (Prensa Latina) Chief Ecuadorian negotiator for the Free Trade Treaty with the US, Manuel Chiriboga, affirmed in a press conference Monday that the next negotiation round will determine whether or not it goes into effect in November.
Chiriboga emphasized that his team has delineated which of the most sensitive Ecuadorian products receive both enormous subsidies from the US and restrictions, hampering a "totally free" trade.
Chiriboga also told press there were positive results from Sunday’s conversations between Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, in that "Colombia shares our concerns;" and that there are ways around such issues, specifically regarding intellectual property.
Saying that in this type of negotiation there are no exclusions, only technical limitations, hence concessions of certain products; he used the examples of rice, which will be totally excluded, and meat, which has possibilities of export.
This decision provoked a strong response from the National Ranchers Association, which president Freddy Bustamante, accused the Ecuadorian negotiators of not attending to their demands, as "we could not compete with US subsidized products."
The parts of animals not eaten in the US are exported with subsidies of 2.6 billion dollars and, if sold on the Ecuadorian market would imply horrendous losses and mean bankruptcy for ranchers, he denounced.
Bustamante said that the worst part is that the negotiators did not consult with the sector, and announced if there is no rectification from the government, they would begin a strike this week