In December 2008, Bush suspended trade preferences for Bolivia under ATPDEA (Andean Trade and Drug Eradication Act.) This is a program that gives trade preference to the four Andean nations, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia and helps coordinate U.S. support for coca eradication. Bush ostensibly suspended Bolivia for failure to be vigilant against coca production, but was a direct result of the breakdown in relations when La Paz and Washington expelled the American and Bolivian ambassador, respectively. This directly hurt the Bolivian economy, as the U.S. is Bolivia’s second largest trading partner.
Morales, ever railing against the imperial yankees, is introducing export credits for the goods destined for the U.S. to help industry that was battered by a loss of U.S. trade preferences. This makes electoral sense, as helping struggling small and medium-sized businesses in the export sector will help Morales when he faces reelection later in the year. It’s somewhat harder to square with his statements regarding Bolivian economic independence and the cutting off ties with the imperial North American power. Simple economics, however, pretty much precludes any other option.