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United States congressmen propose adding Uruguay to the North American free trade agreement

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United States congressmen propose adding Uruguay to the North American free trade agreement

Uruguay Proposed as New Member of USMCA Free Trade Agreement

Montevideo, Uruguay – A bill currently under consideration in both chambers of the United States Congress includes a groundbreaking proposal to incorporate Uruguay as a new member of the free trade agreement in force between North America, Mexico, and Canada, known as the USMCA (ex-Nafta). The proposal, put forth by bipartisan legislators, designates Uruguay as a “pilot country” and aims to establish a new framework of economic and commercial relations between the United States and countries in the Western Hemisphere.

If the bill is approved, Uruguay would officially join the USMCA in 2026, pending discussions and potential changes to the alliance’s current operations by member countries. The initiative, called the Americas Act, seeks to bolster supply chains, promote investment by North American companies in partner countries, and enhance regional trade and cooperation in the Western Hemisphere.

The legislators supporting Uruguay’s inclusion in the USMCA highlighted the country’s robust democratic institutions, commitment to human rights, and anti-corruption efforts as key factors in their decision. Additionally, Uruguay’s economic development, relative size, and positive trajectory were cited as reasons for considering the country for membership in the agreement.

Ambassador Andrés Durán, representing Uruguay in the United States, described the proposal as a significant milestone in the relationship between the two countries. He emphasized the potential for increased investment, improved international integration, and overall development that Uruguay’s participation in the USMCA could bring.

Foreign Minister Omar Paganini praised the proposal as a testament to Uruguay’s stability and democratic values, noting that it signals a positive shift in the United States‘ strategic approach towards the region. Paganini also highlighted the efforts of Ambassador Durán in advocating for Uruguay’s inclusion in the bill and mentioned Uruguay’s participation in the Alliance for Economic Prosperity of the Americas, a project spearheaded by President Joe Biden to enhance trade integration in the region.

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In a separate development, a proposal introduced by U.S. senators in June 2023 called for the elimination of tariffs on Uruguayan products, the removal of visa requirements for businessmen, and a potential reevaluation of visa requirements for all citizens. The senators’ initiative also sought immediate inclusion of Uruguay among countries eligible for E1 and E2 visas, designed for individuals engaged in commercial activities and investors.

The growing momentum towards Uruguay’s integration into the USMCA comes on the heels of a meeting between American congressmen and President Luis Lacalle Pou at the Anchorena presidential stay in April 2023. The meeting underscored the mutual interest in strengthening economic ties and fostering closer cooperation between Uruguay and the United States.

Overall, Uruguay’s potential inclusion in the USMCA represents a significant opportunity for the country to deepen its economic relations with North America and enhance its global standing as a model partner for trade and investment.

For further updates, stay tuned.

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