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Jimmy Carter and Jim Kolbe Recommend the U.S. Congress to Renew and Extend the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act

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CONTACT: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes 1 404 420 5124

In a letter to key people in Washington sent on Nov. 22, 2010, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Representative Jim Kolbe requested the renewal and extension of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), set to expire in December 2010.

The letter sent by Carter and Kolbe, both members of a citizen-based dialogue forum sponsored by The Carter Center and International IDEA to improve understanding between the United States, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, summarizes discussions about ways to improve employment opportunities for the poor as alternatives to the drug trade.

In addition to recommending that the U.S. Congress renew the ATPDEA before it expires and do so for a longer period of time (preferably four years) to allow for planning and investment, they also suggest the Act include explicit incentives for greater trade participation among small and medium-sized agricultural producers, industries, and artisans.

The recommendations are driven from the results of the program, which allowed Andean exports to increase between two and ten-fold in the last decade, depending on the country. Carter and Kolbe also noted that poverty has significantly declined and small farmers in rural areas have fewer incentives to engage in drug trafficking for a livelihood.

The letter also states that the ATPDEA has been equally important to the United States; in 2009, the Andean market was $19 billion for U.S. exporters and $16 billion for American investors.

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