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Peruvians protest at US impositions in FTA

Prensa Latina

Peruvians Protest at US Impositions in FTA

13 July 2005

Lima, Jul 13 (Prensa Latina) A huge protest march was carried out Wednesday in the capital of Peru against US impositions in the negotiation of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Peruvian government.

Several thousands of people chanted "Negotiate, Yes...On Our Knees...No!" in a demonstration called by Peruvian traditional agricultural trade unions, and pharmaceutical and agro-chemical workers.

Demonstrators marched through several of the main avenues in Lima, to the headquarters of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and several of the leaders of the demonstration accused the government of not defending national interests, and giving in to the US pressure.

Luis Zuñiga, president of the National Agricultural Convention, said that the FTT seems to be negotiated by Peruvian people who look more like US citizens as they are defending US interests, and warned that the unfair competition, caused by heavy subsidising of US producers, will ruin the livelihoods of millions of Peruvian families.

Also, representatives of the Peruvian pharmaceutical and medicine industry said that signing of the FTA under the conditions imposed by the US would double the prices of medications, and businessman Vicente Chang-Say demanded the issue of intellectual property be discussed with the World Trade Organization (WHO), not in a bilateral negotiation.

Many artists joined the march, to demand cultural protection in the FTA to enable Peru to have its own national heritage, and to protect it.

The governments of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru began negotiations on the FTA with the US on May 18, 2004.

In his Tuesday speech, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo assured the agreement will be signed before his presidential mandate expires on July 28, 2006.