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U.S. Signs Customs Assistance Deal with Uruguay, Holds TIFA Meeting

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. and Uruguay signed a customs cooperation pact and discussed a range of other bilateral trade issues May 12 during a visit to Washington by Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.

The customs mutual assistance agreement provides the legal framework for the exchange of information and evidence to assist in the prevention, detection and investigation of customs offenses, including those associated with duty evasion, trafficking, proliferation, money laundering and terrorism-related activities. The U.S. now has CMAAs with 69 countries worldwide.

The two sides also held a meeting of the Trade and Investment Council established under the trade and investment framework agreement they concluded in 2007. Discussions focused on trade facilitation (following the August 2013 signing of a joint memorandum of understanding on this issue), market access for agricultural products, trade in services, intellectual property rights, small and medium-sized business cooperation, labor cooperation, and international trade agreements and arrangements. According to a White House fact sheet, both countries expressed satisfaction with improvements in customs modernization as well as the recent granting of Uruguayan market access to U.S. poultry and beef and of U.S. market access to Uruguayan citrus and deboned lamb.

The fact sheet notes that goods trade between the U.S. and Uruguay increased to $2.2 billion in 2013, with U.S. exports of $1.8 billion (up 438% since 2003) and U.S. imports totaling $423 million (up 65%).

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