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United States and Paraguay Conclude Eighth Meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade and Investment

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The
eighth meeting of the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment was held today in
Asuncion,
Paraguay. 
The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant
U.S. Trade Representative for the Americas Everett Eissenstat and Vice Minister
Antonio Rivas led the Paraguayan delegation.


“Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for a productive
exchange of ideas on how we can work together to deepen our economic relations
with Paraguay.  I am pleased we were
able to reach agreement on a number of issues of mutual interest,” said
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Everett Eissenstat. 


During the meeting the two governments reached agreement
to expand coverage of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to include
certified handicrafts.  This will allow certain wall hangings and pillow
covers made in Paraguay to
enter the United
States free of duty after they are certified by
the Government of Paraguay to be hand-loomed and of a folkloric nature. 
The U.S. also committed
support for the development of Paraguay’s biofuels capabilities and
expressed support for continued assistance in fostering private investment
through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).


The two governments also concluded a new Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) and Action Plan regarding the protection and enforcement of
intellectual property rights (IPR) in Paraguay.  Recognizing that IPR
protection has been a longstanding focus of U.S.-Paraguay trade relations, the
United States and Paraguay have agreed to extend their cooperation on these
issues through conclusion of a new MOU and Action Plan that will remain in force
until the end of 2009.  Having reached substantive agreement at the
Asuncion meeting on most points, the
United States and
Paraguay expect to sign the revised
MOU soon after the December 31, 2007 expiration of the current
agreement.


Background:


Paraguay is currently the United States’
91st largest goods trading partner with $969 million in total (two way) goods
trade during 2006.  In 2006, U.S. goods exports to Paraguay totaled $911 million and goods imports
totaled $58 million, for a U.S. goods trade surplus of $853
million.


The Joint Commission on Trade and Investment was
established in 2004 by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the
Government of Paraguay in order to enhance bilateral trade and investment
relations.  The last meeting was held in Washington, DC
on September 28-29, 2006


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