MONTEVIDEO – President Tabare Vazquez, who pulled Uruguay out of negotiations on the proposed international Trade in Services Agreement, known as TISA, said Thursday the accord may never become a reality.
“Let’s try to describe things as they are,” Vazquez said to reporters. “TISA does not exist. There are meetings to see if it is possible to reach an agreement called TISA, but there is still work to be done to see whether or not it is possible.”
“There are difficulties around the agreement among participating countries,” Vazquez said, voicing skepticism that the TISA will ever materialize.
The government said Monday that it decided to abandon the TISA talks following a weekend assembly of the ruling leftist Broad Front coalition, where a majority rejected participation in the accord as inconsistent with the formation’s “vision of the country’s comprehensive development.”
“The citizens voted for the Broad Front’s program, and that is what we must carry out,” Vazquez said Thursday.
With Uruguay out, the Latin American countries remaining in the TISA negotiations are Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.
Other participants include the European Union, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.
Vazquez sought to play down the importance of comments earlier this week by Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, who said that Uruguay’s withdrawal from the TISA talks was “not good.”
The minister, according to Vazquez, “has not stated that he is either for or against TIDA,” but “simply” expressed a preference for Uruguay to continue participating in the negotiations.
Uruguay’s main opposition parties have denounced the government’s decision to walk away from the TISA talks.
Like the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TISA is being negotiated behind closed doors.
The TISA draft text has been classified and is set to remain secret for five years after the agreement takes effect.