January 17 2007
US: Ecuador not interested in FTA while Peru expects a ratification soon
Tholen - Correa’s government officially announced that Ecuador is not interested at the moment to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US. US Trade Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez confirmed that President Correa "thinks that this is not the moment for a FTA, we would be very pleased to have one, but we respect his point of view. To be successful in a FTA, it is necessary that both sides agree”. However he expressed the interest of both countries to follow the issues with some kind of agreement and reminded that 49% of Ecuadorian trade goes to the US (US$6 billion annually approx.).
On the other hand, Peruvian representatives are very optimistic on the FTA ratification process at the US Congress. Peruvian Trade Vice-minister, Luis Alonso Garcia believes that arbitrators’ committee and finance’s committee would ratify the FTA between February and March. García reminded that “next the Act would be send to the plenary at the Chamber of Representatives”. However, Conveagro, an interest group from the agricultural sector, sent a letter to the US Congress requesting changes on the FTA. Subsidies to US exports, prohibition to the application of safeguards and price bands to Peru are some of the clauses that Conveagro asked for a change. “We send this document in the name of 9 million peasants and farm-workers from the Peruvian coasts, mountains and rain forests which would be affected by the FTA" reads a part of the letter.