Colombia is lobbying the United States for an extension to a long-running trade preference agreement that gives its exporters easy access to the American market.
The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) was introduced in 1991 to encourage legal trade from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. More than 1,440 Colombian products are reported to benefit from preferential import tariff rates under the deal, with the flower and textiles industries, both big national employers, being major winners.
The ATPDEA agreement has already been extended on several occasions, and Colombia would like it to run for another two years while it continues to lobby the U.S. to ratify a controversial free trade deal. Colombian Minister of Trade Sergio Diaz-Grandos was confident of a successful trip to Washington, telling press that “we have a good precedent in the deals granted by the United States in the fight against drugs. In this good moment we expect that the U.S. Congress will approve the extension when they are ready.”
Diaz-Grandos repeated his government’s desire for the U.S. to ratify the bilateral free trade treaty, four years after it was first signed. “We are continuing to demonstrate that the free trade treaty is just as useful for them as it is for us” he said, adding that he believes “it will be approved at the right moment.”
A spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed to Colombia Reports that an extension of the ATPDEA deal was likely. The coveted free trade deal remains held up in the United States Congress due largely to concern over Colombia’s human right situation.