Andean Nations Get U.S. Trade Preferences Extended by House

by Dave Latin America

The U.S. House approved extending trade preferences for Colombia, Peru and more than 100 other developing nations, setting up a possible vote in the Senate this week.

The bill, which would suspend $1 billion in tariffs, will continue for a year two separate measures that allow developing countries to ship their products duty-free to the U.S. The broader program applies to Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. A second measure applies to more than $32 billion of imports from 134 developing countries worldwide.

The House approved the bill unanimously, a move that puts pressure on Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, to agree to this extension. Grassley has criticized these measures and has said some large developing nations such as Brazil and India should be eliminated from the program.

If the measure becomes law, it would further ease pressure on lawmakers to pass long-delayed free-trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.

Both the Andean trade program and the Generalized System of Preferences are set to expire at the end of this year. The Andean program allows those nations to export apparel and other goods to the U.S. duty free