Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has promised to block any efforts to renew the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act when it expires at the end of July, setting the stage for a broader trade war against Ecuador.
Though the act initially covered several nations, most now have separate trade deals with the US, and Menendez says that Ecuador should be punished if it accepts whistleblower Edward Snowden’s request for asylum.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister says the US threats are likely to slow an asylum consideration by “months,” apparently the hope being that the US will, absent a granting of asylum choose not to stop buying their broccoli.
Though Ecuador’s largest export to the US is oil, that’s unlikely to factor into this decision, as oil could be sold literally anywhere else. Hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen broccoli and cut flowers, however, will be harder to simply transition to a different market, and could by themselves have a terrible impact on Ecuador’s economy.