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.
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
# # #