Ecuador calls off trade pact with US over Snowden issue
London: Ecuador government has reportedly waived off its trade pact with US over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden`s issue and said that it will not budge under the pressure or threats by the US for Snowden`s extradition.
According to the Guardian, Ecuador government has renounced Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) with Washington, in order to thwart US `blackmail` of Ecuador in Snowden`s asylum request.
US has been repeatedly trying to convince the government of Russia as well of Ecuador to follow the international law and hand over Snowden to the authorities who has been charged with violation of the Espionage Act.
Minister of political coordination, Betty Tola said that since Snowden is still in the transit area of Moscow`s airport and not in the territory of Ecuador, his request for asylum in Ecuador has not been processed yet.
According to the report, the waiving of preferential trade rights followed threats from members of the US congress to drop the ATPA in July, when it is due for renewal, unless Ecuador toed the line on Snowden.
The communications secretary, Fernando Alvarado said that Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone or does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests adding that Ecuador gives up unilaterally and irrevocably the custom benefits.
Michael Shifter, of the Inter-American Dialogue said that Ecuador made the announcement as renewal of the ATPDEA was a long shot and instead of waiting and facing rejection, they decided to waive it off.
Director general of Analytica Investments, a Quito-based consultancy, Ramiro Crespo said that the decision will have serious consequences for the Ecuador producers adding that products which are exported to the United States have become major industries in Ecuador and if commerce is restricted there`s going to be unemployment which will penalize the people, the report added.
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