"Trade is important for the U.S. and
Uruguay," stated U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez
in his remarks to the Uruguayan-American Chamber of Commerce
in Montevideo, October 9, 2007. "President Vazquez recognized
a fundamental truth: for Uruguay to grow, it must look outward
for trade and investment. I am looking forward to being part
of continuing discussions to expand trade and create new opportunities
for our two nations," he added.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez delivering his remarks to members and guests of the Uruguayan-American Chamber of Commerce in Montevideo, October 9, 2007.
Following is a transcript of Gutierrez's
remarks as prepared for delivery:
Prepared Remarks of Carlos M. Gutierrez
U.S. Secretary of Commerce
October 9, 2007
SECRETARY GUTIERREZ: Thank you for that kind introduction.
It’s a special pleasure to be here with so many honored
Uruguayan-American Chamber of Commerce has become a powerful
voice for the benefits of the rule of law, and expanded
trade and investment between our two countries.
you know, trade is important for the U.S. and Uruguay. President
Vazquez recognized a fundamental truth: for Uruguay to grow,
it must look outward for trade and investment. I am looking
forward to being part of continuing discussions to expand
trade and create new opportunities for our two nations.
Engaging in the global economy is a high
priority for the Bush Administration. During his March visit
to Montevideo, President Bush described the trip as “a
statement of a desire to work together with people in our
Our vision for the Western Hemisphere is
one of growth and prosperity. Growth and prosperity for
the whole region.
I know that President Vazquez shares this
vision and has made important advances in trade relationships,
innovation and education.
He joins other leaders in the hemisphere,
like Presidents Lula, Bachelet, Uribe, Garcia, Calderon,
and others who see future economic growth in the face of
increasing competition from Asia as being linked with market
reforms and further integration with the U.S. and neighbors.
I have come to Montevideo this week to emphasize
the commitment the United States has to President Vazquez’s
Administration and to explore ways we can increase U.S.-Uruguay
U.S.-Uruguay Economic Relations
The last two years have been good for U.S.-Uruguay
economic relations. We worked closely with government leaders
to fulfill the ambitious agenda set by Presidents Bush and
Vazquez that included:
• The Joint Commission on Trade and
Investment in 2002;
• The Bilateral Investment Treaty
in 2006; and,
• The Trade and Investment Framework
Agreement in 2007.
These are important milestones in our journey
to strengthen our overall economic relationship. The TIFA
talks will enable us to do strengthen even more.
Last night I was pleased to sign a Letter
of Intent with Minister Lepra, which continues the work
we began at the America’s Competitiveness Forum (ACF).
The agreement will foster our joint efforts to spur innovation
and increase competitiveness. The LOI and the ACF follow-up
Symposium on Innovation that Uruguay will host next year
are focused on increasing the flow of ideas and sharing
The United States is Uruguay’s third
largest trading partner, and the Uruguayan people have benefited
from the creation of jobs and opportunities related to this
expansion of trade.
This nation is a dynamic trading partner
for the United States. U.S. exports to Uruguay grew a remarkable
131 percent – from $209 million in 2002 to $482 million
in 2006. This outperformed overall U.S. export growth for
the same period.
This economic progress has been accompanied
by a commitment to expanding access to both innovation and
education—both are essential for continuing on the
path of prosperity. What I would congratulate Uruguay for,
President Vazquez for, is that you are looking outward.
Progress in Education and Innovation
Uruguay has a very strong public educational
system. The literacy rate here is an impressive 97 percent.
And, in 2006, Uruguay will be in the first
phase of the One Laptop Per Child program. This program
is sponsored to prepare students for the innovation jobs
of the 21st century. This is another example of very progressive
We know that a challenge remains in raising
completion rates for high school and higher education. Students
must realize that the benefits of educational attainment
grow exponentially through the completion of educational
goals. To maintain sustainable growth, education is critical.
Uruguay is making great strides in a number
of innovative programs and initiatives to increase business
opportunities and create an environment for foreign firms
to prosper. For example:
• Promotion of technology-based entrepreneurship
is increasing through programs such as the Knowledge Development
• Uruguay is the largest exporter
of software in South America. It exports around $150 million
of software, and this figure is expected to exceed $500
million in the next five years.
• Some prominent companies, such as
India’s TaTa Consultancy Services, have established
development headquarters in Uruguay.
• Microsoft is involved in several
software development projects with local partners here.
Uruguay is clearly using the power of the
global market by embracing technology industries and encouraging
WTO Information Technology Agreement
On this visit, I will be meeting with Uruguayan
entrepreneurs from the high-tech and software sectors, as
well as the leadership of Uruguay’s newly-created
Innovation Agency. We’ll discuss regional efforts
to foster innovation. We’ll also talk about the WTO
Information Technology Agreement.
Uruguay has a vision to be an innovation
hub in the Hemisphere and this Agreement is essential. Information
technologies have the potential to increase productivity,
generate economic growth, and improve the quality of life
The rapid growth in the global economy has
intensified competition and expanded world trade. The elimination
of tariffs for ITA products makes it possible to use the
potential of these technologies for the benefit of millions
The ITA is about bringing the tariffs on
all Information Technology goods down to zero among the
signatory countries – and keeping them there.
Today, 70 WTO Members, representing 97 percent
of world trade in IT products, are participants to the ITA.
Uruguay should join this important effort.
Challenges to Growth
Most of my career was in the private sector.
One thing I learned was that investment follows transparency,
responsible regulation, adherence to the rule of law, intellectual
property protection and predictability.
These can be great advantages for Uruguay
and the message will spread to companies around the world
that Uruguay is a pro-growth destination for business.
Uruguay’s tourism industry is bringing
in more visitors and is set to put the country on everyone’s
radar. With travelers coming to Uruguay from Europe and
North America, the development of marinas and apartment
complexes as well as the opportunities for real estate development
Future U.S.-Uruguay Economic Cooperation
We are committed to working with government
and business leaders to support future growth in trade and
U.S. companies produce world-class goods
and services. They are eager to do business in Uruguay,
build stronger economies, and create jobs in both nations.
And I want to thank the Uruguayan-American
Chamber of Commerce for all you are doing to promote pro-growth
policies and develop the commercial partnerships that create
profits and jobs and deliver the benefits of democracy to
In other countries I’ve visited, it
has often been the business community that takes the lead
in urging governments to find ways to strengthen and deepen
As representatives of U.S. business in Uruguay,
I hope you will actively engage in the TIFA process and
provide us with concrete suggestions and advice.
We look forward to working with you to create
growth and opportunity for our citizens, our countries,
and our hemisphere.