Content on this archived webpage is NOT UPDATED, and external links may not function. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Click here to go to the CURRENT USTR.GOV WEBSITE


Peru and Ecuador to Join With Colombia in May 18-19 Launch of FTA Negotiations with the United States

May 03, 2004

WASHINGTON -The United States announced today that Peru and
Ecuador will join with Colombia in the first round of negotiations on a U.S.-Andean
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) scheduled for May 18-19. The FTA negotiations were scheduled
to begin with Colombia alone, pending the resolution of certain issues with
respect to Peru and Ecuador, which have now been addressed. The U.S. hopes to include
Bolivia at a later stage, and is working with Bolivian officials to prepare.

"The United States has been busy completing top-notch FTAs with
our neighbors in the hemisphere, so we are delighted that the Andean countries want to
work with us to remove barriers for our farmers, workers, exporters and
businesses," Zoellick said. "The inclusion of Peru and Ecuador in the negotiation will expand
benefits beyond the U.S.-Colombia relationship. Our Andean friends rightly view a cutting
edge FTA with the U.S. as a key component in their economic growth and reform plans,
and we see the FTA as a great way to open markets and opportunities while supporting
developing democracies in our neighborhood."

In his November 18, 2003 letter notifying Congress of the
Administration's intent to negotiate a U.S.-Andean FTA, United States Trade Representative
Robert B. Zoellick indicated that the U.S. would initiate negotiations with the
countries that have demonstrated their readiness to begin. The Peruvian Government has
recently resolved certain outstanding disputes with U.S. investors and has taken
significant steps to resolve others. Similarly, the Ecuadorian Government has taken important
steps to address certain concerns regarding the protection of worker rights and has
resolved certain investor disputes. There remains work to be done in order for all
outstanding issues to be completely resolved. The U.S. Government will continue to work
with Peru and Ecuador to follow through on these matters as the negotiations

In order to spur economic growth in Peru and Ecuador, the United
States today also announced that the board of the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation (OPIC) has approved, subject to notification to Congress by OPIC, a $54
million loan for a microfinancing initiative in the Andean countries and several others. The loan
will help recipients - particularly women - get a start in small business
and promote economic development. This short-term assistance, when coupled with the
benefits created by the FTAs, will help to expand U.S. access and opportunities in these
growing markets.

Zoellick led the U.S. delegation for the inauguration of Alejandro
Toledo as President of Peru in July 2001, and in November 2002 he visited Ecuador for the
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial.

In 2003, U.S. goods exports to Ecuador were $1.4 billion. The
stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ecuador in 2002 was $1.1 billion. In 2003,
U.S. goods exports to Peru were $1.7 billion. The stock of foreign direct investment
(FDI) in Peru in 2002 was $3.2 billion. The four Andean countries collectively represent a
market of over $7 billion for U.S. exports, and are home to over $8 billion in U.S. foreign
direct investment.


On March 15, 2004, the United States completed FTA market access
negotiations with the Dominican Republic. It will be added to the recently concluded
CAFTA. The U.S. has completed FTAs with eight countries - Costa Rica, the
Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Australia and Morocco -
over the past few months. New and pending FTA partners, taken together, would
constitute America's third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the

The United States is aggressively working to open markets
globally, regionally, and bilaterally and to expand American opportunities in overseas
markets. In a January 2004 letter to the 146 WTO members, Zoellick urged Members to revive
the global trade talks. In February Zoellick traveled over 30,000 miles and met with over
40 WTO members in strategic consultations. Immediately following that trip, Zoellick
traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica for meetings February 23-24 with ministers from the
Cairns Group of agriculture exporting countries to discuss liberalizing trade in
agriculture within ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations.

In addition to the global efforts, a top goal for the U.S. is the
FTAA negotiation to create a $13 trillion, 800 million person Western Hemispheric free trade
zone stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Comprehensive, high-quality agreements
that promote regional economic integration (Chile, CAFTA) with like-minded,
ambitious trading partners, complement and provide impetus for the FTAA
negotiations. The United States is also currently negotiating an FTA with Panama.