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Uruguay President Vazquez says Uruguay seeking improved trade ties with US

Voice of America

Uruguay President Vazquez Says Uruguay Seeking Improved Trade Ties With U.S.

5 May 2006

PRESS RELEASE - Washington, D.C., May 5, 2006 - After meeting with President George W. Bush, Uruguay President Tabaré Vazquez appeared on Voice of America (VOA) to say that the two presidents had “made profound advances toward a better understanding between our two countries that will permit us to improve our commercial exchanges.”

Although establishing bilateral trade ties with the U.S. could go against the South American trade block Mercosur that Uruguay belongs to, Vazquez defended his country’s position. “Uruguay wants to remain in Mercosur,” he said, “but a better Mercosur for Uruguay, and we want to pursue free trade agreements outside the bloc.” He noted that stronger bilateral trade relations could help Uruguay “expand education, improve health care, and generate jobs with adequate salaries.”

Besides trade, Bush and Vazquez discussed the issue of energy and alternative fuels, and planned to continue their discussion. The Uruguayan president said that energy experts from both his country and the U.S. plan to explore the issue of alternative fuels further at a meeting in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo in October.