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Ecuadorian universities to discuss FTA

Prensa Latina, Cuba

Ecuadorian Universities to Discuss FTA

31 January 2006

Quito, Jan 31 (Prensa Latina) Ecuadorean universities will hold consultations on the advisability to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the US, president of the National Council on Higher Education (CONESUP) Vinicio Baquero confirmed.

The referendum will be held as of Feb 15 in higher education facilities including technical colleges, he stressed.

Before the consultations, the Ecuadorean people will be able to participate in presentations, workshops and debates on the FTA issue, he announced.

He said the decision to hold a civic consultation was unanimously adopted by CONESUP during a meeting held on Jan 19.

In his opinion, it is important that students and people in general make comments on the impact of an eventual signing of the treaty on the future of Ecuador.

CONESUP cannot remain aloof of this issue, it defends its interest in negotiations and opposes US plans to consider education as a commercial service, he indicated.

FTA talks will resume on Feb 22, as last week Ecuadorians failed to cut a deal on intellectual property due to US resistance.