[Excerpt] The submission of this report to the Congress continues a series of reports by the U.S. Department of Labor on the impact of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) on U.S. employment. The current report covers calendar year 2008 and represents the sixteenth in the series.
The ATPA, enacted on December 4, 1991, authorized the President to proclaim duty-free treatment for eligible articles from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. ATPA preferential duty treatment expired on December 4, 2001, but was renewed by the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) and applied to imports as of December 5, 2001. The ATPDEA significantly expanded the product coverage of the ATPA program. While the ATPA, as amended and expanded by the ATPDEA, was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2006, Congress has extended the programs four times, and currently the ATPA/ATPDEA is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009. Section 207 of the ATPA directs the Secretary of Labor to undertake a continuing review and analysis of the impact of ATPA/ATPDEA preferences on U.S. employment and submit a summary report of such analysis annually to the Congress.
Each of the original four ATPA countries received benefits under the ATPA/ATPDEA in 2008. A total $17.2 billion in U.S. imports from the beneficiary countries entered the United States duty-free under ATPA/ATPDEA provisions. This represented 61 percent of all U.S. imports from the beneficiary countries in 2008, but just 0.8 percent of total U.S. imports from all sources. This $17.2 billion in imports included $2.7 billion in imports that entered duty-free under the provision of the original ATPA (excluding the ATPDEA amendments) and $14.6 billion in imports that entered duty-free under the ATPDEA’s provisions for expanded product coverage. Of the $2.7 billion in imports that entered duty-free under the provision of the original ATPA (excluding the ATPDEA amendments), approximately one-third, or $876.7 million, could have qualified for duty-free entry under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and were not benefits available exclusively under the ATPA. All items that entered under the ATPDEA’s provisions for expanded product coverage qualified for benefits exclusively under the ATPA. Overall, U.S. imports from the beneficiary countries that benefited exclusively from the original ATPA (on eligible products not eligible for GSP) and the ATPDEA amendments amounted to $16.4 billion in 2008, which represented about 57 percent of all U.S. imports from the beneficiary countries, but just 0.8 percent of total U.S. imports from all sources.
The main finding of this report is that preferential tariff treatment under the provisions of the original ATPA and the ATPDEA amendments has neither had an adverse impact on, nor posed a significant threat to, overall levels of U.S. employment.