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Peru’s Toledo: US trade pact expected next month

Dow Jones

6 September 2005

Peru’s Toledo: US Trade Pact Expected Next Month

LIMA -(Dow Jones)- Peru hopes to have a free trade agreement with the U.S. concluded in October, President Alejandro Toledo said Tuesday.

Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the U.S. started talks in May 2004 for a free trade agreement, aiming to lower barriers to trade.

On Monday, Toledo met with Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe for a round of bilateral talks on the trade deal.

"We have a goal of concluding the free trade talks by the end of October," Toledo told reporters.

Trade Minister Alfredo Ferrero said Tuesday that if the talks are concluded in October, there would be three months to revise any deal before it is signed and sent to legislatures in each nation.

Ferrero added that Peru plans to proceed with a free trade pact, even if fellow Andean nations Colombia and Ecuador don’t take part.

"Plan A is to go together with Colombia and have a deal with them," Ferrero said, adding that working together could ease the lobbying process for the deal.

"Hopefully Ecuador can be with us. But we also need a Plan B, if Ecuador or Colombia can’t be with us. Although it would be difficult for Colombia not to be with us as there is a promise on their part," he added in a radio interview.

Analysts say that Ecuador’s negotiating process for the free trade pact suffered with a recent change in government there.

— Robert Kozak, Dow Jones Newswires