US Senate approves free trade agreement with Peru


The US Senate has approved the text of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Peru and the United States.

In November 2003 the commercial representative for the United States, Robert Zoellick, announced the intention of the executive branch of the government to initiate negotiations with four countries of the Andean Community - Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - in order to conclude a FTA. Four years on, only two countries (Colombia and Peru) have reached an agreement with the United States; only the agreement with Peru has been approved by the US Congress.

The US House of Representatives ratified the FTA on November 8 2007 and the Senate approved the text on December 4 2007 (77 votes in favour, 18 votes against). In contrast, the FTA between the United States and Chile obtained only 66 favourable votes and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States obtained only 54 favourable votes at the Senate. The FTA between the United States and Peru was signed by President Bush on December 14 2007. The Peruvian and US governments declared that the FTA is intended to be operative by the end of 2008.

Under the FTA, Peruvian companies will have access to a large market. The volume of export from Peru to the United States (particularly textiles and agro-industrial products) is likely to increase significantly. While trade with Peru represents less than 0.5% of the total volume of trade of the United States, the United States is Peru's main commercial partner.

During the negotiations, Peru made significant compromises in IP matters. For instance, Peru must:

In addition, Peru must:

  • implement a system for the electronic filing, processing, registration and maintenance of trademarks;

  • create a publicly available electronic database (including an online database) of trademark applications and registrations;

  • amend the law so that it will no longer be mandatory to register licensing agreements for the agreement to be valid or for the parties to assert rights in the trademark at issue;

  • implement a management system for its country-code top-level domain, including an online database containing the contact details of all domain name registrants;

  • establish procedures for the enforcement of IP rights; and

  • publicize its efforts to enforce IP rights in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings.

Moreover, when determining the amount of damages to be awarded in infringement cases, the courts must take into account the amount of loss suffered based on the suggested retail price or on other legitimate measures of value submitted by the rights holder.

Peru must now pass implementing regulations. The government is expected to ask Congress to approve a law granting power to the executive to pass the necessary legislation.

José Barreda, Barreda Moller, Lima

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