Background Briefing

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March 2005

Comments Regarding Ecuador's Eligibility for ATPDEA Designation

Human Rights Watch welcomes this opportunity to present views regarding whether Ecuador meets the eligibility criteria of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).  These criteria include those in the original Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA), as well as those added in the ATPDEA, which extended and expanded the ATPA in 2002. 

In September 2003 and September 2004, Human Rights Watch argued for partial or total suspension of tariff benefits when we submitted Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) petitions to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).  In those petitions, we detailed Ecuador’s failure to meet the ATPA and ATPDEA workers’ rights criteria.1  However, USTR has yet to rule on these petitions, and Ecuador has made little progress in addressing the violations of workers’ rights that we identified.  Therefore, these comments serve only to reinforce and update our prior petitions, particularly our September 2004 submission.  That petition is included as appendix I.   

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[1] In determining whether to designate a country an ATPDEA beneficiary, the President must consider “[t]he extent to which the country provides internationally recognized worker rights, including . . . [t]he right of association . . . [and] [t]he right to organize and bargain collectively,” and “[w]hether the country has implemented its commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, as defined in section 507(6) of the Trade Act of 1974.” 19 USC Sec. 3203(b)(6)(B)(iii),(iv).  The APTA,  for its part, establishes that the President shall not designate any country a beneficiary “if such country has not or is not taking steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights . . . to workers in the country.”  19 USC Sec. 3202(c)(7).