Prensa Latina, 25 January 2006
Ecuador-Colomb-US Resume FTA Talks
Quito, Jan 25 (Prensa Latina) Ecuador, along with Colombia, is reopening Wednesday in Washington joint negotiation over the copyright issue in the Free Trade Agreement with the US, despite growing refusal in Quito.
Ecuadorian negotiators at FTA talks aim at closing the pact and signing it this year with Washington.
Although President Alfredo Palacio has repeatedly said they will not cede sovereignty and would negotiate in favor of the country, Vinicio Baquero, FTA negotiator, denounced irregularities and ending discussion of issues without defending the country’s rights.
According to Baquero, transcendental matters such as the provision of public, professional and consultancy servicing as well as communications, transport, natural resources, especially hydrocarbons, education and culture are still pending.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Small Industries of Guayas province and the Association of Pharmaceutical Laboratories voiced their disagreement with negotiation of the FTA.
Those unions state Ecuador is not ready to compete with the mammoth US economy, and pharmaceuticals will be one of the most affected sectors.
Likewise, political media complain about lack of research on impact of the market’s opening in productive sectors, as it will result in unemployment.
In addition, students, workers, social and popular movements and progressive parties rebuff the FTA and have been taking to the streets since February to pressure the government.