Alexa

Uruguay, seeking to boost growth, signs trade pact with U.S.

Uruguay, seeking to boost growth, signs trade pact with U.S.

The United States and Uruguay on Thursday signed a pact laying down guidelines for boosting trade between the two countries, a move Uruguayan officials said is key to the small South American nation's future economic growth.
The so-called Trade Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA, calls for a bilateral group on investments and commerce to meet at least once a year to identify areas of future trade liberalization.
Uruguay is the first South American nation to sign a TIFA with the United States, a format Washington has used to expand trade ties with several African and Asian partners. A joint investment treaty signed between Uruguay and the United States was signed earlier this decade.
Deputy U.S. trade representative John Verbena joined aides to President Tabare Vazquez in signing the agreement at the ceremony at the Government House in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.
"In the world we are living in today, investment and trade go hand-in-hand with expansion and the creation of new opportunities," Uruguay's Economy Minister Danilo Astori said.
Uruguay is one of the smaller South American economies and is still recovering from a bruising 2002 economic meltdown brought on by recessions in neighboring Brazil and Argentina.
The TIFA signing comes as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has led an effort to forge regional trade alliances aimed at diminishing Washington's economic and political influence in the region.
Communists and other left-wing parties in Vazquez's coalition government have accused the president of seeking to cede national sovereignty to the United States in exchange for a trade deal. When the two sides were negotiating the TIFA in the Uruguayan capital in October, demonstrators threw eggs at presidential guards near the meeting venue and burned an American flag.
But Vazquez has argued increased trade with the U.S. will spur long-term growth as this nation of 3.4 million people.
Uruguay's central bank said exports to the United States totaled US$472.1 million (euro364 million) in the 12-month period ending in November 2006 _ nearly half the total made up of beef, meat products and leather goods. The United States is the second-largest destination for Uruguayan exports after Brazil.
Meanwhile, U.S. exports to Uruguay totaled US$404 million (euro311 million) in the period, it said, making the United States the biggest supplier of goods and services after the Mercosur trade partner nations of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.


Updated : 2020-11-30 19:58 GMT+08:00