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  7. U.S. Relations with Ecuador, Analysis, July :: Latin America Current Events & News.

Trade Agreements: Impact on the U. Ecuador: Political and Economic Conditions and U. Angeles Villarreal. This report provides a brief background on political and economic conditions in Ecuador under President Correa, and examines current U. It provides context for recent developments such as the asylum request reportedly made to Ecuador by former U. Snowden who is wanted on espionage charges in the United States for release of top secret documents about U.

Background Ecuador is a small oil-producing country with about Located between Colo mbia and Peru, two major cocaine producing countries in the Andean region, Ecuador is strategically important to the United States. Not only is it a major transshipment point for U. Moreover, according to the U.

The Main Issues in Us-Ecuador Relations in the 21st Century

Energy Information Administration, Ecuador was the 11 th largest supplier of crude oil imports to the United States in and an important supplier of crude to the Western United States. Friction between the two countries culminated in the expulsion of the U. Ambassador in Although full diplomatic relations were restored in with the appointment of a new U. Ambassador to Ecuador, tensions between the countries continue. The Correa government in recent months has tried to bolster economic ties and, up until late June , advocated for renewal of trade preferences which are set to expire July 31, Relations Congressional Research Service 2 Political and Economic Conditions Correa Administration Ecuador has a relatively long experience with democracy, but it has been marked by frequent cycles of instability.

Following a return to democracy in after nine years of military rule, party splits, bureaucratic ineptitude, and corruption proliferated. Voters have periodically blamed incumbent governments for their problems, and often have turned to populist, anti- traditional party candidates to govern. Ecuador ended a decade of political and economic instability with the election of Rafael Correa, a left-leaning U.

Fulfilling a key campaign promise, Correa succeeded in rallying the nation to support a referendum to rewrite the constitution. As required under the new constitution, new elections were then organized for President, Vice President, Members of the unicameral National Assembly, and provincial and local offices. In September , President Correa faced a police uprising over pay and work conditions that resulted in five deaths which Correa and his supporters called an attempted coup.

Transnational Advocates and Labor Rights Enforcement in the North American Free Trade Agreement

The brash way the President responded to the police rebellion was viewed by some observers as a way to burnish his reputation. Relations Congressional Research Service 3 independence has been weakened. Government ow nership of media has greatly increased during the years of the Correa presidency. Since coming to office, President Correa has increased social spending, expanded government control over strategic sectors, and attempted to ensure that a greater share of natural resource revenues go to the state.

He has financed ambitious social spending using revenues generated by the energy sector and through loans from China based on forward oil sales. According to the World Bank, today Ecuador is an upper middle income country. Ecuador is also active in the Organization of American States and many of its associated bodies as well as the United Nations.

President Correa has been the first leader since the late s to enjoy sustained popularity across the regions and a broad array of class and demographic groups. President Correa began his new four-year term on May 20, The measure easily passed the National Assembly with its substantial majority of AP members on June 14, and it was approved by the President a week later. A more divided body had been unable to complete action on an earlier version of the law introduced by the government in Critics of the media law see it as a significant setback for a free press and fear that it introduces the potential for censorship in Ecuador.

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The Correa government contends it is a victim of private media persecution. The law addresses government concerns that the media is mainly in private hands and lacks professional standards, and that much of the opposition media is strongly opposed to Correa. The new law eases terms for small-and medium-size mining projects in Ecuador by delaying the windfall tax until miners have recovered their initial investment and clarifies guidelines and regulations for mining operations.

Many large mining companies, however, remain concerned about the large tax burden placed on them by the government.

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses

The new law was also controversial and opposed by the umbrella indigenous organization, Conaie, because it did not make binding a requirement for prior consultation with indigenous groups. Ecuador has a large indigenous population that has become increasingly active politically.

While support from indigenous groups was important when Correa came to power, many including Conaie have become vocal critics of his approach to the development of natural resources. In recent years, there have been increases in nontraditional exports such as flowers and automobiles. Relations Congressional Research Service 5 are among the leading U. In total trade, Ecuador was the 34 th largest trade partner of the United States in In , Ecuador adopted the dollar as its national currency following a major recession in Dollarization helped curb inflation and restored some macroeconomic stability.

In , however, economic growth declined sharply to just 0. Showing signs of recovery in , the economy rebounded and grew by 2.

ATPA Renewal: Background and Issues [March 9, ]

After strong growth of 7. The government handles the bulk of oil production, but it is also carried out by some small domestic and some large foreign companies. Between , oil production declined due to insufficient investment, but the decline leveled out in In late and early , the government shifted its oil concession contracts from a production sharing arrangement to a service fee contract.

The mineral sector has also been developing. This effort especially targets for development small and medium sized businesses located outside of the two major cities, Quito and Guayaquil. Demonstrating a pragmatic concern for his non-oil exporters according to some observers, Correa has also engaged in talks with the European Union to reach a trade deal. To address low levels of foreign investment, the Correa government has turned to nontraditional allies such as China as a leading source of external finance.

Over the course of his time in office, President Correa has expelled various U. Moreover, President Correa has at times adopted a brash stance toward U.