"The Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) extends duty-free treatment to certain U.S. imports that meet domestic content and other requirements from designated countries in the Andean region. The purpose of ATPA is to promote economic growth in the Andean region and to encourage a shift away from dependence on illegal drugs by supporting legitimate economic activities. [...] The trade effects of ATPA on the U.S. economy have been minimal because the amount of U.S. trade with the Andean region is low. The value of duty-free U.S. imports under ATPA accounts for about 0.8% of total U.S. imports, or 0.1% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Approximately 90% of U.S. imports from ATPA countries enter duty-free under various trade preference programs or through normal trade relations. Duty-free imports under ATPA account for 49.9% of total U.S. imports from ATPA countries. Leading U.S. ATPA imports in 2010 were crude petroleum oil, cut flowers, petroleum-oil products (other than crude), refined copper, tshirts and similar apparel, and fish and caviar products. The 112th Congress may reevaluate the extension of ATPA trade preferences for Ecuador and Colombia. Policymakers may also consider broader reform of U.S. trade preference programs, including the Generalized System of Preferences. Some Members of Congress maintain that if ATPA trade preferences are not extended, the United States and the Andean countries risk losing some of the economic progress that has been achieved over the 18-year life of the program. Supporters of ATPA argue that the program should continue to reinforce the U.S. commitment to the 'alternative development' counternarcotics strategy. Critics of ATPA argue that unilateral trade programs are ineffective; that the ATPA has forced U.S. producers to compete with lowercost Andean imports; and that, in cases such as Bolivia and Ecuador, trade preferences should not be extended to countries that do not support U.S. foreign and trade policies.
CRS Report for Congress, RS22548