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US, Uruguay begin BIT talks

U.S., Uruguay begin investment treaty talks

Reuters, 11 May 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Tuesday it had begun talks with Uruguay on a treaty to expand investment ties.

The United States has treaties with more than three dozen countries to protect the rights of investors, but has not negotiated a new one in more than five years.

The decision to begin with Uruguay "after this hiatus is a reflection of the importance the United States attaches to its relationship with Uruguay," the trade office said.

John Murphy, vice president for Western Hemisphere affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Uruguay’s willingness to negotiate an investment treaty with United States suggested a split in the South American Mercosur trade bloc.

Mercosur — which comprises Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay — has resisted negotiating investment rules as part of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas pact covering every country in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba.

The United States announced after a meeting of regional trade ministers in Miami last November it intended to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty with Uruguay.