U.S. pressures Peru on free trade deal
LIMA, Jan. 25 (Xinhuanet) — The United States said on Wednesday it would not renew a favorable tariff pact with Peru, unless the country ratifies a free trade pact agreed on between the two sides in December.
"It is politically impossible to renew the Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Agreement (ATPDEA) unless the Free Trade Agreement, negotiated in 2005 by the U.S. and Peru, is passed by the congresses of both countries by the end of this year," said James Curtis Struble, U.S. ambassador to Peru.
ATPDEA allows Andean countries to sell their products to the United States with a zero tariff. Under the deal, Peru managed to have scored an export volume of 17 billion U.S. dollars to the United States.
The governments of the United States and Peru have asked their respective congresses to ratify the agreement so that the deal can be signed in April — after the general elections in the Andean country and before election campaigns begin in the United States.
The U.S. decision to deliver the free trade agreement to Congress shows the will of the current government in "pushing this agreement forward and achieving its approval in the shortest possible period of time," he said.
Peru, Colombia and Ecuador began free trade talks with the United States in May 2004. Peru is the only country that has signed a provisional agreement with Washington so far.