Posted by Newswires on Jun 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Clinton ‘absolutely sure’ US-Colombia FTA will pass

Hillary Clinton Colombia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she is “absolutely sure” that the U.S. Congress will pass a long-delayed free trade agreement with Colombia.

“I am confident that we are going to pass the free trade agreement,” Clinton told reporters during a joint press conference with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin.

“I hope that the people of Colombia do not lose heart in watching the activities of our Congress because there always is a lot of rhetoric and skirmishing between the parties before they finally hit the deadline to get the work done,” the chief U.S. diplomat said.

“So I’m absolutely sure we’re going to get it passed,” the secretary added.

In April, U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States and Colombia had agreed a plan to boost labor rights in the Latin American nation and unblock a free trade agreement between their countries.

But the Obama administration said two weeks ago it would hold off on trade agreements with Colombia as well as with South Korea and Panama until Congress approves benefits for workers.

It was yet another barrier to a U.S.-Colombia trade agreement that was signed by the two countries in 2006 during the administration of George W. Bush, but which has languished in the U.S. Congress.