Release Date: Jul 02, 2012Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Welcomes USTR Report on Andean Trade Preference Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the release of the U.S. Trade Representative’s sixth annual report on the operations of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). The report shows that the ATPA continued to make progress in achieving the goals of promoting broad-based economic development and diversification of exports in beneficiary countries.
“USTR’s report illustrates how trade preference programs, including ATPA, which have been long championed by the Chamber, help developing trading partner countries to mature and diversify their economies,” said Jodi Bond, the Chamber’s vice president of the Americas. “These programs provide unilateral preferential access to the U.S. market for designated beneficiary countries that meet statutorily mandated eligibility criteria that help to ensure the success of the program. Ideally, such programs lead over time to reciprocal free trade agreements that benefit both the United States and its partners.”
In the case of the ATPA, two of the original four beneficiaries, Peru and Colombia, have implemented reciprocal agreements with the United States and have been graduated from the program. A third, Bolivia, was denied eligibility under the statute for ongoing failure to meet eligibility criteria, namely those requiring cooperation in countering illegal narcotics. The fourth and last remaining beneficiary, Ecuador, has not demonstrated the capacity to enter into a reciprocal agreement and its treatment of U.S. companies has consistently prompted concerns. The report describes how Ecuador has failed to comply with the terms of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between Ecuador and the United States.
“The Chamber welcomes USTR’s report that it is carefully monitoring Ecuador's compliance with the U.S.-Ecuador BIT and other eligibility criteria to determine that country's future eligibility for trade preferences,” added Bond. “The Chamber agrees that Ecuador has failed to meet its commitment to the United States by ignoring, and even denouncing, decisions rendered by arbitral tribunals convened under the BIT. Unless Ecuador takes steps to fully honor its BIT commitments to the United States, ATPA preferences for Ecuador should come to an end.”