The United States said Thursday it wanted its
trade preferences for Ecuador to continue even as the South American
country said it no longer wanted the tariff preferences as it weighs
granting asylum to fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"Having an improved and better economic relationship is an area we'd like to continue to cooperate with Ecuador on," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said, while warning of "grave difficulties for our bilateral relationship" if Ecuador were to take in Snowden.
He noted that many of the trade preferences are granted by vote of the US Congress, and said he believed Ecuador cannot set the preference status of its goods. He declined to speculate on what might happen to Ecuador's trade preferences, some of which will expire in late July unless US lawmakers act.
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