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Ask the Ambassador: U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay, Frank E. Baxter

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Welcome to "Ask the Ambassador" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to U.S. Ambassadors around the world.

U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Frank E. Baxter, discussed U.S. trade and educational issues.

Frank E. Baxter, U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay
Frank E. Baxter
U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay

Event Date: 10/19/2007

Derrick in Missouri writes:

I am a older college student who wants to become a Diplomatic Security agent. How do you feel about the state of security information between U.S. and other nations? Are we doing a good job? Also, in your mind are we as a nation able to openly talk to countries like Uruguay about trade more loosely compared to Mexico?

Ambassador Baxter:

Diplomatic security is a very important function. Our relationship with the security forces of other countries is excellent even when we may not get along on other issues. Re trade, we have an open dialogue with Uruguay and both countries are working hard on the TIFA. Thanks for asking

Blaise in Washington, DC writes:

First of all Mr. Ambassador, thanks for your service to the country. My question is: As you know Uruguay has a problem with emigration. Most of them are young and highly qualified looking to earn higher salaries in Europe and the United States. So, what is it that the United States and the Uruguayan Government are doing to try and tackle the problem for example by increasing their wages?

Ambassador Baxter:

Uruguayans are very concerned about the brain drain. The best answer is to prepare more young Uruguayans for 21st century jobs, and to realize that with the internet a person can employ their skills anywhere without leaving home.

Bill in Pennsylvania writes:

I have found in my many travels that people meeting people breaks down conceptions about each other. Have you ever thought about doing the sister city program with one or more of the Uruguayan cities?

Ambassador Baxter:

Montevideo has a sister city relationship with Montevideo, Minnesota.

Juanjo in Uruguay writes:

Hello, I live in Montevideo. Thank you for this chance to write to you. I read in a Uruguayan newspaper about the Programa Ceibal (one computer per child) and the comment was that it is a waste of money because poor children will be tempted to sell their computers for food or have them stolen by drug addicts and instead the government should use that money to feed the children in poor schools. I saw in your web page that you went to the school in Villa Cardal to support the program. Some people think our government is been pushed to buy these computers so that American companies can get rich. Why do you support this program? Do you really believe poor children have a chance?

Ambassador Baxter:

Unfortunately, there are no panaceas in education, but acquiring the ability to reach the rest of the world electronically is one of the most important steps. A computer is the first step but it certainly is not the only one. With the price of those computers, I doubt if anyone is making much money. In fact I believe the final winner of the bids is a non-profit organization. If you spent some time with those children, you would quickly see the benefits. Security for the computers can certainly be handled

Nathaniel in New Hampshire writes:

What effect, if any, do you think Venezuela's joining of the MERCOSUR Trade Agreement will have on U.S.-Uruguayan relations, the latter of which has already ratified Venezuela's application?

Ambassador Baxter:

I focus on our relationship with Uruguay which is very important to the United States.

Eric writes:

Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your service in Montevideo and for your availability on this web chat. Can I ask you a question on trade...Where do you see MERCOSUR headed, from the perspective of the two smaller economies Uruguay and Paraguay?

Ambassador Baxter:

My focus is on our relationship with Uruguay. Our country supports trade between other countries, as trade always benefits the greatest number of people

Jefferson in Oklahoma writes:

Do many Americans visit Uruguay as tourists and if so, is it a safe country and what do they most want to do there? Thank you.

Ambassador Baxter:

Uruguay is one of the safest countries in the world.

Thousands of North Americans visit in on cruises, and more and more are staying for longer periods. It has something for everyone. We all know about the world class beaches in Punta Del Este. The art and music are fabulous. There are quaint villages throughout the interior. You can look at birds or hunt birds depending on your taste. You can be a gaucho for a while on one of the estancias. There are also many investing possibilities.

Kyle in North Carolina writes:

Hello Ambassador Baxter. How has Uruguay reacted to the U.S.-Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty over the last year? And has it increased trade or decreased trade?

Ambassador Baxter:

The treaty has resulted in more trade. Uruguay has always been a safe place to invest. To have the assurance that there will be no currency controls or expropriations is an added benefit. There are many opportunities being investigated by North Americans.

Michael in Utah writes:

What is being done in relations with Uruguay and other moderate-left Latin American countries like Chile and Brazil to assure that they avoid the totalitarian tactics espoused by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela? It seems that the more we engage these countries as co-equals, respecting their sovereignty and needs, we will neutralize the influence of Chavez. What specifically is being done to support these countries?

Femblix in Guinea writes:

If I may ask the U.S. Department of State what are the educational views in 2008 in Uruguay in regards to its adherence to human rights goals. What are the economic policies regarding trade unions trade policy reform based on sustainable development in the region? How are these policies to be implemented? Is there a system in place in Uruguay to respond to ocean emergencies, or are places of world heritage at risk because there's not system in place?

Dieter from Germany writes:

What kind of education issues do you regard as very important with regard to the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Uruguay?

Ambassador Baxter:

Both countries realize that investing in people is one of the most important tools for increasing trade. We are cooperating in many ways. We are helping teach 19,000 young Uruguayans learn English. We have many exchanges both ways.

Dieter from Germany:

Is there any progress towards free trade?

Ambassador Baxter:

For most 21st century industries trade is already fully free. Anything thing legal that can be transmitted electronically encounters no barriers. The TIFA provides for exploring avenues of trade that do not require parliamentary approval. There is much progress

Jean in Pennsylvania writes:

How long have you been in Uruguay? What would an Uruguayan tell an American about our mission in his/her country - Uruguay?

Ambassador Baxter:

I have been here for 11 months. I wouldn't presume to say what an Uruguayan would say about our mission. I will say that I have met thousands of Uruguayans for all walks of life, and I believe they are the friendliest people in the world. I have grown very fond of this country, its people and my job.

Lieselotte in Germany writes:

To what extent does the U.S. interact with Uruguay in matters of education?

Does the U.S. support the education system in Uruguay?

Is there a relevant exchange between the two countries with regard to university programs and students going abroad?

Ambassador Baxter:

There are many exchanges and programs. Both countries realize that education is imperative in the information age and work together in many ways to help all people in both countries achieve their potential.

Martin in Germany writes:

What do you think are the most important aspects of the U.S.-Uruguay trade relations that ought to be improved? Is Uruguay supporting President Bush´s free trade agenda?

Ambassador Baxter:

I personally am a free trade advocate and will not be satisfied until all barriers except security are gone. We are working hard on the TIFA. Blueberries were just approved by the U.S. for import from Uruguay. I hope they come to Germany. The forces of protection remain very strong throughout the world, and I believe that it is important for enlightened people to point of the tremendous advantages of free trade

Martin in Germany:

How would you describe the bilateral relations?

Ambassador Baxter:

Excellent and getting better!

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