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This week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hosted the eleventh meeting of the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment here in Washington, D.C. The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere John Melle. Manuel Caceres, Vice Minister of Economic Relations and Integration, led the Paraguayan delegation.
The meeting allowed the United States and Paraguay to continue collaborative efforts to expand economic opportunities for businesses and investors in both countries. During the meeting, the two governments committed to renegotiating the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and associated Action Plan regarding the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in Paraguay. The current MOU will expire at the end 2011. IPR protection is an important focus of U.S.-Paraguay trade relations.
The Joint Commission on Trade and Investment was established in 2004 by the USTR and the Government of Paraguay to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations. The previous meeting was held in Asunción, Paraguay in October 2010.
Last year, total two way goods trade between the United States and Paraguay was $1.9 billion. Goods exports totaled $1.8 billion and imports totaled $62 million that year. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Paraguay was $1.7 billion in 2010. The top U.S. export categories in 2010 were electrical machinery, toys and sports equipment (video games), perfumery and cosmetics, and mineral fuel (oil). U.S. exports of agricultural products to Paraguay totaled $27 million in 2010.