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US Suspends Trade Preferences For Bolivia

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The Bush administration has decided to suspend duty-free treatment for Bolivian importers under the Andean Trade Preference Act because of Bolivia’s failure to cooperate with the United States in its effort to combat drug trafficking from Latin American countries. Bolivia currently exports $385 million worth of goods to the United States, including some $18 million worth of textiles and apparel.

Under terms of the Andean trade agreement, the United States has given duty-free treatment to goods from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, but that trade preference has been tied to cooperation in the anti-drug effort. On October 16, President George W. Bush signed legislation extending the Andean agreement for one year, but subsequently announced that Bolivia would be excluded. The US trade representative said the suspension could be lifted if the Bolivian government improves its performance in the war on drugs.

October 21, 2008