WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Paraguayan officials met this week in Washington to discuss ways to deepen trade relations between the two countries under a trade and investment framework agreement that has come into effect. in 2021, the United States announced on Friday.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the first meeting of a trade and investment council created under the framework addressed issues including anti-corruption, agricultural trade and the digital economy. .
“They affirmed the importance of the bilateral relationship, including working together to deepen engagement on trade and promote post-pandemic recovery,” the USTR said in a statement.
He said technical work was planned over the next year on several key issues, and that the two sides would meet again in Asunción in 2023.
The two countries discussed the importance of trade facilitation and recommitted to reviewing their customs fees and procedures with the aim of reducing the time and cost of compliance for traders and operators. They also agreed on the importance of transparency and anti-corruption measures.
The USTR said Paraguay is considering Washington’s invitation to join the work of the Inter-American Coalition for Business Ethics in the medical technology sector.
Paraguay also provided an update on planned changes to its public procurement law to improve transparency and encourage greater participation in its procurement regime, he said.
The two countries have agreed on a roadmap for working to resolve issues of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in Paraguay.
In the area of agricultural trade, they discussed ongoing efforts to allow the import of raw beef products from Paraguay into the United States, with a view to completing the necessary processes as soon as possible in 2023.
The two countries have also explored possible ways to expand agricultural trade, including through the import of non-traditional products from Paraguay.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler)