Background

The U.S. is working to strengthen trade relations with Uruguay, which has expanded trade ties with China in recent years and is looking to negotiate more bilateral trade agreements outside the constraints of the Mercosur bloc of which it is a member.

Following a recent meeting under their bilateral trade and investment framework agreement, the U.S. and Uruguay said they agreed to pursue “concrete, high-standard outcomes” in updating the TIFA by the end of 2021, including in the areas of trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, anti-corruption, and digital trade. While Uruguay has at times in the past called for a bilateral free trade agreement with the U.S., the Biden administration has effectively put a moratorium on such deals.

The two sides also said they intend to “work closely together” over the next months to “promote a dynamic agenda for growing inclusive trade and investment in a way that advances the prosperity of both countries and their workers.” Other topics of discussion at the meeting included agriculture, intellectual property, services, high labor standards, and strong environmental protections.

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