Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 5,2004

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U.S.-Andean Trade Disputes

Ballenger schedules Wednesday hearing to examine obstacles to South American free trade agreements


BACKGROUND: Three Andean nations—Peru, Ecuador and Colombia—are currently in negotiations with the United States Trade Representative for free trade agreements. Several U.S. companies, however, report investment disputes with both Peru and Ecuador which could have damaging results on trade talks. In Peru, investment disputes stem from the national tax authority’s repeated violation of both Peruvian law and U.S. companies’ binding legal contracts. Political instability in Ecuador has undermined confidence in the rule of law and continues to be a concern with the current government. While Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez’s administration has maintained sound fiscal policies, it has failed to adopt the structural economic reforms it proposed when Gutierrez came to office, and currently there are numerous commercial disputes between American companies and the Government of Ecuador that U.S. Executive Branch officials have been working to resolve. On September 29, 2004, the U.S. Trade Representative threatened to drop Peru and Ecuador from trade talks should their unwillingness to cooperate on investment issues become an obstacle to a pact with Colombia. 

WHAT: Subcommittee Hearing: U.S. Trade Disputes in Peru and Ecuador

Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-NC), Chairman

WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 6, 2004

WHERE: Room 2200 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Panel I: Earl Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Regina Vargo, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Americas, Office of the United States Trade Representative; Charles Shapiro, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

Panel II: John Murphy, Vice President for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas; and Mark Dresner, Vice President for Corporate Communications, Englehard Corporation. 

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