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Uruguay President: Cooperation with the UAE is based on mutual respect

posted on 01/05/2007: 627 views



President Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay said that his expected visit to the GCC states aims to consolidate trade relations and increase trade-off levels in all fields.



He pointed out in a statement to Emirates News Agency 'WAM' that cooperation between the UAE and Uruguay includes social, economic, technical, scientific, cultural and trade sectors, with keeping the consideration of differences between both societies and maintaining mutual respect between them.



President Vazquez, noted that the free trade agreement which is being discussed among GCC states and Southern Common Market 'Mercosur' will allow them to export their products to the Arabian Gulf countries, taking advantage of customs exemptions included in the agreement.



Following is the full text of the interview:

1. What are the objectives of your visit to the Gulf?



In first place, to deepen diplomatic relations between Uruguay and the countries in the region. It's true that our countries are geographically distant. But geographical distance is no excuse for indifference or for lack of mutual knowledge about our respective countries, governments and people.



In second place, and without minimizing the importance of other areas involved in foreign policy - to consolidate trade between our countries. Keep in mind that Uruguay's exports to the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia grew 41% in the last four years, with the main products being meat, dairy, rice, horses and cattle on the hoof. But there are other areas as well with enormous potential, such as fish, citrus fruits, medicines or software.



Closely tied in with this is our desire to draw investment in areas like energy, industry, infrastructure works, logistics and tourism.



To that end, we offer a favourable context: a balanced and consistent macroeconomic program, non-discrimination between national and foreign investors, incentives, respect for contracts and obligations, a peaceful country, a democratic society, and an educated and cultured population.



2. In May 2005 the first summit of South American and Arab countries was held in Brazil. From your point of view, how should this process continue?



As you have aptly stated, this is a process. And as such, it is continuous and evolving. And along the lines of what I said at that summit, the first in which I participated as president of Uruguay, I reiterate that this process implies concrete lines of action, not only in the field of trade and economic cooperation, but also in the strengthening of multilateral relations in terms of peace and security, the fight against hunger and poverty, scientific and technological cooperation, sustainable development, cultural exchange, etc.



The next summit meeting, scheduled for next year in Morocco, will be a good opportunity to evaluate what has been done up to then and to adjust objectives and undertakings from there on out.



3. In this phase, a free trade agreement is being negotiated between the countries of the Gulf and Mercosur. What expectations do you have with regard to the future impact of that accord?



I have very strong, positive expectations. An agreement of this kind will allow Mercosur companies to export tariff-free to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, from food products to cars, medicines, software, furniture, etc. At the same time, our region represents an interesting market for investment in the abovementioned areas (energy, industry, infrastructure, logistics, and tourism). But obviously, merely signing the accord is not enough. It must be put into practice. In that sense, the Uruguayan government is committed to making the necessary effort.



4. What are the possible areas of joint cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay?



Cooperation in the social, economic, technical, scientific and cultural areas as well as trade, based on the diversity of our societies and mutual respect. For example, in the field of trade, with the products mentioned, among others: foodstuffs, chemical products, energy.



South-South cooperation forms part of the alliance of civilizations for world peace and the progress of humanity. Without peace or progress, there is only gloom. And humanity cannot be condemned to the darkness. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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