During the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Rafael Correa granted his time to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, to make a video appearance from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Throughout his speech, Assange insisted that President Obama must "do the right thing, not in fine words but in fine deed".
Previously criticized for curtailing Ecuador's press freedoms, President Correa's reputation may have been improved through Assange' s speech. However, the leader's decision to defend the international fugitive will certainly damage the nation's trade ties with the United States and the European Union. Correa's unyielding sovereign resolution to maintain Assange' s political asylum may affect the renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. This preferential trade agreement with the U.S. allows Ecuador to export 1,300 goods duty free, supports 400,000 jobs and accounts for one-third of Ecuador's foreign trade.
Given the United States' role in the Ecuadorian economy, the business association Comité Empresarial Ecuatoriano asserted that the Correa's political actions could easily lead the U.S. Congress to revoke the privileged commercial access early next year. Additionally, the ongoing conversations to establish a commercial agreement with the European Union may be at stake due to the ongoing quarrel with the United Kingdom and Sweden.
This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Isabella Troncis.
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