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Ecuador, US delay free trade talks in Washington


Ecuador, US delay free trade talks in Washington

Mon Apr 3, 2006

QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuador and the United States decided to suspend free trade negotiations until late April after a deadlock in talks, the Ecuadorean president’s spokesman said on Monday.

Both countries’ negotiators have held talks for more than a week in Washington to find agreement during the 14th round of negotiations.

"This round is not over yet, it has been suspended, just like Colombia and Peru did before, to resume in three weeks," Enrique Proano, the spokesman for President Alfredo Palacio, told reporters.

Ecuador, which started the Andean trade talks in May 2004, has been deadlocked with the United States, mostly over agricultural issues. Neighboring Colombia and Peru have reached trade agreements with Washington.

This week’s trade talks remained stalled over the same sensitive farm issues and intellectual property.

Proano did not give a date for resuming the negotiations.

Palacio’s government is facing growing pressure from Indian peasants and other social groups to quit the free trade talks.

Indians blocked some of the country’s main highways for nearly two weeks to protest against a pact they say will flood local market with cheap American products and kill their ancestral way of life.

 source: Reuters