The U.S. Congress will allow the expiration of a the Andean Trade Preference Act, which allows many Colombian goods into the country duty-free, reports Reuters.
The U.S. Congress is to allow the expiration of this program Saturday reports Reuters.
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.
The vast majority of Colombia’s exports receive duty-free treatment under the act.
In its first four years, the ATPDEA fostered huge growth between the U.S. and Andean nations. During that period, U.S. exports to the region grew from $6,463.8 million to $11,636.5 million while imports grew from $9,611.5 million to $22,510.6 million.
Colombia’s ambassador to Washington, Gabriel Silva, stated “without action by Congress, many of the Colombian industries that have been devastated by the aftermath of the epic floods stand to suffer further economic harm,” as a result of the act’s expiration.
Although House and Ways Committee Chairman, Republican Dave Camp, has drafted a bill to extend the act through to June, Republican leaders cancelled a vote on the measure.
In an interview, Camp told reporters he believes the ATPDEA bill will eventually move next week.
This continues Democrat-Republican disagreements over trade agreements in the region, with the Colombian FTA still waiting to be approved by the Obama administration.