White House extends Andean trade preferences, threatens Bolivia, Ecuador

Following approval by both houses of Congress, President Bush Feb. 29 signed a 10-month extension of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), designed to discourage Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia from producing illegal drugs by allowing the four countries to export most of their goods to the US duty-free. White House spokesman Dana Perino said the ATPA extension will provide time to implement the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and for Congress to approve the US-Colombia FTA. Perino also warned that Bolivia and Ecuador could lose their trade benefits because of actions those governments have taken, “including with respect to the treatment of US investors.” (Living in Peru; Reuters, Feb. 29)