The ATPDEA (Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act) is a United States Government effort to provide four Andean countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) with trade preferences on certain products to promote the production and export of legal products instead of cocaine.
Formerly the ATPA (Andean Trade Preference Act), it was enacted on 31 October 2002 and provides duty-free access for over 6000 products from these countries to the United States. In exchange, the four participating countries agree to make every effort possible to eradicate/reduce the manufacture and export of illegal and controlled substances, such as cocaine.
An agreement to extend these preferences must be renewed periodically and the U.S. Congress votes on whether or not to renew it for each country individually based on proof of their efforts to fulfill their portion of the agreement.
Renewal talks took place in the U.S. Congress in October 2008 and U.S. President Bush asked Congress NOT to renew it for Bolivia in 2008 because Bolivia has not fulfilled its commitment to eradicate/reduce cocaine production. Congress ultimately voted to renew it for Bolivia, but only for six months. The ATPDEA has since been suspended for Bolivia.
Although President Evo Morales has stated new markets are already being sought by the Bolivian government, most Bolivian exporters indicate it takes months and sometimes even years to negotiate export contracts and they may lose their companies before finding new markets is possible. In addition, without these trade preferences, the prices of their products are not as competitive in the U.S. market.
Bolivian government sources indicate that anywhere from 20,000 to 150,000 Bolivian workers may directly and indirectly lose their jobs, most of them in the cities of El Alto and La Paz, as companies that depend highly or exclusively on the U.S. market for exports may no longer be able to employ them. Bolivia is already seeing the effects of this as companies and industries close, employees are being laid off, and investment in the country's industry and trade is waning.