June 27, 2013

Ecuador renounces U.S. tariff benefits

The move comes as the nation faces U.S. pressure to avoid granting asylum to Edward Snowden.

The Associated Press

QUITO, Ecuador - Ecuador said Thursday it is renouncing tariff benefits on hundreds of millions of dollars in trade that are up for renewal by the U.S. Congress.

click image to enlarge

An activist of Ukraine's Internet party gestures as he demands the American authorities stop the pursuit of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden at a protest near the U.S. Embassy in Kiev Thursday.

The Associated Press

Related headlines

The announcement by Communications Minister Fernando Alvarez comes at a moment when Ecuador faces U.S. pressure to avoid granting asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Alvarez told a news conference that the trade deal had become "a new instrument of blackmail."

The program, initially meant to help Andean countries aiding in the fight against drugs, was facing an uphill fight for renewal. Alvarado did not explicitly mention a separate effort to win trade benefits under a presidential order.

Alvarez said his country "does not accept threats from anybody, and does not trade in principles, or submit to mercantile interests, as important as they may be."

Ecuador has been lobbying for continuation of reduced tariffs on hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of trade in products such as cut flowers, artichokes and broccoli. Nearly half Ecuador's foreign trade depends on the United States.

With the deal already struggling in Congress, Ecuador's announcement it is considering asylum for Snowden threatened to kill its access to the Generalized System of Preferences, which benefits 127 countries.

On Wednesday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey said that if Ecuador grants asylum, "I will lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador's duty-free access under GSP and will also make sure there is no chance for renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act."

Snowden faces felony espionage charges at home. The United States has demanded his extradition, first from Hong Kong, where he hid for several weeks, and now from Russia, where he arrived Sunday.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)