Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Continue trade - jobs in Ecuador and Bolivia

The US Senate is considering extending trade agreements with Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. The trade agreements increase trade in both directions and cause the employment of thousands in their home country in South America. Senator Grassley has a concern and a valid one. Ecuador stole the property of Occidental Petroleu; they accepted development of oil but then canceled the contract. We have to make it clear that that is not acceptable. So let's make it a two-way street. Ecuador can have the trade agreement it desparately wants if it honors its contract with Occidental. Grassley's complaint against Bolivia is that its government is anti-American and antitrade. NASDAQ:
"In fact, it boggles my mind that the governments of Ecuador and Bolivia would even ask us for extensions of these trade preferences," Grassley said. "After all, the leaders of those two countries have based their careers on attacking U.S. policies - our trade policies in particular."
The Hill covers the story.
Ecuador Foreign Minister Maria Espinosa met last week with House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), both of whom support extending the preferences. Rangel has introduced legislation extending the preferences for two years with all four Andean nations — Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru — but it is not certain whether this legislation could move forward in the Senate, given the opposition from Grassley.

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