Bush Suspends Trade Accord With Bolivia in Anti-Drug Dispute
By Roger Runningen
Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush suspended a trade agreement with Bolivia, saying the country provided insufficient cooperation in U.S. efforts against drug trafficking.
The president signed a declaration ending trade benefits under the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement yesterday.
Cutting of trade benefits is the result of Bolivia’s “failure to cooperate with the U.S. counternarcotics efforts,” a condition of maintaining trade preferences, such as reduced tariffs, Perino said.
The U.S. imported $371 million in Bolivian goods for the first nine months of 2008, up from $363 million for all of 2007, Commerce Department figures show.
Trade benefits could be restored “if Bolivia were to improve its performance” in anti-drug efforts, Perino said.
Bush’s action follows a decision earlier this month by President Evo Morales ordering 27 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration employees to leave the country. Morales said the agency was undermining his government, an accusation the U.S. Embassy in La Paz called “false and absurd.”
Bolivia is the world’s third-biggest producer of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine, after Colombia and Peru, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
To contact the reporter on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at email@example.com.