WASHINGTON - Senior U.S. trade officials met yesterday with top officials from Peru and Colombia to discuss the extension of expiring trade preferences under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) and the pending free trade agreements.
“We discussed important steps our countries have taken over the past year to strengthen further our bilateral relationship,” said Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Veroneau. "We expressed our support for extending ATPA preferences to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia in a timely fashion, so as to minimize any business disruptions. We also reiterated our strong support for the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, and reaffirmed our commitment to work with Congress to move these agreements at the earliest possible date."
In 1991, the U.S. Congress authorized duty-free benefits for four Andean nations (Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia) under ATPA to help in their fight against illegal drug production and trafficking by expanding their economic opportunities. As part of the Trade Act of 2002, Congress renewed and enhanced the trade preferences for all four countries under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), which are set to expire on December 31, 2006.