Thanks to Edward Snowden, children all across America could be rejoicing at the prospect of seeing less Broccoli on their dinner plates after a tariff-free trade agreement between the United States and Ecuador on the imports of frozen broccoli, flowers and canned artichokes expired on Wednesday night.
As political tensions continue between the two countries, President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, has been using the recent furor over Edward Snowden to pull out of trade agreements and is refusing to negotiate new terms on expired agreements.
The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act which expired on Wednesday night mean that U.S companies didn’t have to pay 14.9 percent on broccoli and 6.8 percent on cut flowers.
“It’s like frozen broccoli getting tied to the Pentagon Papers,” said Corey Henry, vice president of communications for the American Frozen Food Institute.
Ecuadorian negotiators have continued to work on alternative plans in case congress did not renew the current agreement, but president Correa has potentially ruined any agreement coming together at all because of his past efforts to offer Snowden sanctuary in the country. While Snowden resides in Russia, the political fallout from Ecuador's offer to him has continued to cause problems.
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In June, Sen. Robert Menedez (D-N.J.) warned Correa that his position on Snowden could jeopardize trade between the nations.
“Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior. If Snowden is granted asylum in Ecuador, I will lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador’s duty-free access” under both of the other trade deals, Menendez said in a statement.
At an inauguration event on June 27 in De Los Rios Province, Ecuador, Correa said Ecuador would not be blackmailed by trade-related threats.
“Ecuador doesn’t accept pressure or threats from anyone and doesn’t barter its principles and sovereignty to submit to mercantile interests,” he said, adding that he wasn’t “the least bit concerned” and told exporters to “take a valium,” according to reports.
Consumers will likely feel the increase of price, according the American food institute. Ecuador is the fourth largest exporter of frozen and canned Artichokes, but florists are likely to be hit much harder as Ecuador is the second-leading source of imported flowers into the U.S, accounting for about 30 percent of the five billion stems that come into the country each year.