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Ecuador Responds to Business Coalition ATPDEA Letter

Ecuador Responds to Business Coalition ATPDEA Letter

Washington, DC. Ecuadorian Ambassador to the United States Luis Gallegos Chiriboga expressed surprise today at a letter released by the US Chamber of Commerce and four other groups yesterday recommending that the United States end trade benefits for Ecuador under the Andean Trade references and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).
“Ecuador is the only country in the Andean region with zero coca cultivation,” said Ambassador Gallegos. “The purpose of ATPDEA is to combat drugs and there is no better success story in the region than Ecuador in this regard.” While the letter from the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Foreign Trade Council, the Business Roundtable and the Emergency Committee for Action on Trade references alleged “breaches of the rule of law,” there is no specific explanation for the recommendation against renewing the preferences.
In the case of Ecuador, there are no outstanding investor suits that are not currently in the appropriate judicial or arbitration courts as per Ecuador’s obligations under domestic law and international investment treaties. “Ecuador has consistently followed the Rule of Law regarding investor-state disputes with foreign companies, including the government’s payment last spring to Occidental Petroleum Corporation of $100 million based on a ruling by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL),” said Ambassador Gallegos.
ATPDEA was enacted in 1991 under President George H.W. Bush to fight narco-trafficking in the region by providing employment opportunities through export activities to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Today, approximately 350,000 jobs in the fresh-cut flower, broccoli, pouched tuna, and other export industries in Ecuador are dependent on the ATPDEA.
Ecuador’s anti-drug efforts were recently lauded in a White House Memorandum to the Secretary of State, which noted that “The Government of Ecuador is committed to protecting its borders and territory against drug trafficking…the increased presence of Ecuadorian security forces in its counternarcotics efforts provided a more effective deterrent to drug production and trafficking.”
In addition to Ecuador’s proven success against narco-trafficking and commitment to international investment law, Ecuador has also instituted zero tariffs on more than 3,800 U.S. products. Currently approximately 75 percent of Ecuador’s exports to the U.S. are petroleum that enters duty free thanks to the ATPDEA. Ecuador is the fourth largest provider of crude oil to the U.S. in the Western Hemisphere, according to U.S. import figures. “For all practical purposes, these groups are proposing an additional tax on oil imports from Ecuador,” said Ambassador Gallegos.