U.S. Senator John McCain called for the government to restore duty-free access to the U.S. market for Colombian goods, saying that the country is an “ally,” reports Reuters.
The former presidential candidate criticized the recent expiry of the Andean Trade Preferences Act, which lets many Colombian goods enter the country tariff-free. “We’ve kicked an ally while they’re down and right when they need us most,” he said.
“Colombian officials tell me without these trade preferences, their cut flower industry, which is one of the pillars of their economy, could contract by 15 to 20% in the coming weeks,” said the senator.
The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) was enacted in August 2002, and is renewal and amendment of the Andrean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) that was created in 1991. It also allows preferential access to the U.S. market for goods from Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
The objective of the act is to help foster legal industries as an alternative to drug production and trafficking. When it entered into force, the act exempted 6,300 products from tariffs.