Ecuador's President-elect Rafael Correa said Sunday that he will not sign a free-trade agreement with the United States but will seek extended...
LIMA, Peru — Ecuador’s President-elect Rafael Correa said Sunday that he will not sign a free-trade agreement with the United States but will seek extended trade preferences under an anti-drug agreement.
Trade-agreement talks between the U.S. and Ecuador derailed in May, after Ecuador canceled the operating contract of California-based Occidental Petroleum.
Correa told reporters he was unsatisfied with the U.S. House of Representatives’ approval of a six-month extension of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, a package of trade benefits in exchange for counter-drug activities.
These benefits should “last as long as the anti-drug fight lasts,” Correa said upon arriving in Ecuador. He said his Andean country will negotiate a long-term extension of the package with the next U.S. Congress.
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Before leaving Lima, where he met with his Peruvian counterpart, Alan Garcia, after the second South American Community of Nations summit in Bolivia, Correa told Peru’s Radioprogramas radio that the bilateral U.S. free-trade pact would be “tremendously harmful” to Ecuador.
The Andean country adopted the dollar as its currency in 2000 to halt hyperinflation. But Correa says a trade agreement with the U.S. — like the ones Colombia and Peru already have signed — could create “incalculable” damage for Ecuador since the country cannot control its currency’s value.