Zoellick to Visit Peru and Ecuador June 7 - 9
WASHINGTON – Following his participation at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial meeting in Chile, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will travel to Peru and Ecuador to discuss the recently launched U.S.-Andean free trade negotiation and other bilateral trade and investment-related issues. Zoellick will meet with the Presidents of Peru and Ecuador as well as legislators and opinion leaders.
“I look forward to traveling to Peru and Ecuador to discuss our recently launched FTA negotiations that will benefit all our countries and promote economic prosperity and hope for all our peoples,” said Zoellick. “Peru and Ecuador have been working to gain the advantages offered by the ATPA, which the U.S. expanded and extended in 2002. Since the ATPA expires in 2006, however, we need to work together to have the Andean FTA in place. I want to listen to the perspectives of these partners on how we can expand trade liberalization between our countries and support them.”
On May 18, 2004 the United States launched free trade negotiations with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador with a round of talks in Cartagena, Colombia. The U.S. hopes to include Bolivia at a later stage, and is working with them to increase their readiness.
On November 18, 2003 Zoellick announced during the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Ministerial meetings in Miami that he was notifying Congress of the Administration’s intent to negotiate with the four Andean countries. The United States is pursuing a comprehensive FTA with the Andean countries that will open markets and expand opportunities in a broad range of sectors.
Zoellick will be in Peru on June 7 - 8, and in addition to his meeting with President Toledo and key legislators, he will hold roundtable discussions with representatives of the private sector, civil society and the media. He will also visit a factory that imports U.S. wheat for processing into flour and baked goods. In Ecuador on June 8 - 9 he will meet with President Gutierrez and a similar cross-section of society. In addition he will visit a chocolate factory that provides jobs to indigenous groups and protects the Amazon rain forest through responsible development.
Zoellick has visited both Peru and Ecuador as U.S. Trade Representative. He headed 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 FTAA Ministerial.
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. 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. 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.
The United States is focused on opening markets globally, regionally and bilaterally. Zoellick has been working hard this year on the Doha negotiations to make sure that 2004 is not a lost year. In January he wrote a letter to over 140 of his WTO colleagues to identify ways to put the negotiations back on track. In February, he traveled over 32,000 miles around world and met with over 40 counterparts to hear their views and discuss ideas. He recently hosted a small gathering of colleagues in London to facilitate a discussion about how to keep the Doha negotiations moving forward.
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 U.S. has completed FTAs with nine countries – the five countries of Central America, the Dominican Republic, Australia, Morocco and Bahrain - over the past six months. New and pending FTA partners, taken together, would constitute America’s third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the world.
Negotiations were completed on May 27 with Bahrain. Last month the United States and Panama conducted their first round of free trade negotiations, FTA negotiations with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru began in mid-May, and negotiations with Thailand are expected to begin shortly. In addition the U.S. is negotiating with the five nations of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).