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Ecuador Trade Pacts Nixed Over Snowden Scandal

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NSA leaker Edward Snowden has cost the nation of Ecuador its trade pact with the United States. Senator Bob Mendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the pact will not be renewed if Ecuador grants asylum to Snowden, who has admitted leaking classified information about the NSA in his role as a security contractor. Ecuador retaliated, stating that it would not accept a renewal, as it does not want the pact to be used as a form of blackmail.

The pact, which gives Ecuador duty free access to US markets, is mainly used to facilitate the importing of Ecuadorian oil. Congress is also bringing up Ecuador’s status under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which reduces tariffs on agricultural goods. Almost half of Ecuador’s foreign trade is with the U.S.

Communications minister Fernando Alvarez said that his nation, “does not accept threats from anybody, and does not trade in principles, or submit to mercantile interests, as important as they may be.”

Alvarez, mocking Washington’s efforts to hide Snowden’s release of information about NSA surveillance programs, offered the US $23 million per year to fund human rights training. He said the money would help, “avoid violations of privacy, torture, and other actions that are degrading to humanity.”

Ecuador is a textile and apparel exporter, and would lose duty free status for those goods if the trade pacts are removed.

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