MIAMI - Following the successful conclusion of the Free Trade Area
of the Americas Ministerial in Miami, United States Trade Representative Zoellick
and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Opertti last night announced that their two
countries would begin negotiation of a Bilateral Investment Treaty early next year.
"Foreign Minister Opertti and I are pleased at the accomplishments
of the Joint Commission between Uruguay and the United States. The Commission
has worked to resolve bilateral trade issues and to achieve joint objectives in
the WTO and FTAA," said Zoellick, in announcing the decision. "Today, we are pleased to
announce that discussions in the Joint Commission have led to an agreement to
initiate negotiation of a U.S. - Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty. We have also
instructed the Joint Commission to explore additional possibilities for sectoral
bilateral agreements that will lead to a further deepening of the U.S. -Uruguay trade
relationship through increased market access. Uruguay has been a good partner with us in seeking
to open markets in both the FTAA and the WTO."
The decision to negotiate this agreement flows from the work of
the United States-Uruguay Joint Commission on Trade and Investment. The Joint
Commission was established following President Batlle's February 2002 visit to
the White House. Since April 2002, the Commission has pursued an ambitious work plan
designed to strengthen the U.S. - Uruguay trade relationship.
Today's announcement reflects the Administration's determination
to move forward to strengthen trade and investment ties with willing partners. A
Bilateral Investment Treaty will send a strong signal to investors that Uruguay is mo ving
past its recent financial crisis and is ready for business.