Duty-Free Status Extended
Duty-free status for flowers coming into the United States from Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru will continue after Congress passed legislation extending the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) for eight months — through February 2008.
Had the measure not passed, importers of record in the floral industry would have had to pay duties on flowers from those four nations beginning July 1.
House and Senate Democrats wanted to extend the program for two years, but objections from Republicans forced both sides to compromise on a shorter extension to ensure quick passage.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, had opposed the extension for Ecuador and Bolivia because of the way they treat U.S. companies, he said. The extension will give Grassley and others time to re-examine trade preferences for those two nations.
The extension also provides additional time for Congress to act on two free trade agreements, one with Colombia and one with Peru. If implemented, those agreements would replace the ATPDEA and provide permanent duty-free status on flowers from those nations. Neither Ecuador nor Bolivia currently is involved in negotiations with the U.S. on a free trade agreement.
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