Ecuador is holding firm in its decision to consider Edward Snowden's bid for asylum in the country, and it won't let the US change its mind, President Rafael Correa says. Referring to trade benefits the US provides Ecuador, Correa says: "In the face of threats, insolence, and arrogance of certain US sectors which have pressured to remove the preferential tariffs because of the Snowden case, Ecuador tells the world we unilaterally and irrevocably renounce the preferential tariffs. ... It is outrageous to try to delegitimize a state for receiving a petition of asylum."
Others in Ecuador—a country whose foreign trade hinges heavily on the US—weren't happy with rejection of the benefits. The move "creates an unsuitable climate for a profitable, productive, and positive relationship," says a former vice president, per CNN. For Washington's part, a State Department rep says Ecuadorean asylum for Snowden "would have grave difficulties for a bilateral relationship." What's more, he says, it's up to Congress, not Ecuador, whether to continue the trade benefits under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which expires next month. But many had already expected it wouldn't be renewed—meaning Correa's comments could win him Ecuadorean support without hurting the country much, says an expert. (Read more Ecuador stories.)