A Canadian organization of executives Thursday called for the Canadian parliament to pass the Canada-Colombia FTA.
The agreement would gradually eliminate most tariffs and other trade barriers between the two countries. It is currently awaiting Canadian parliamentary approval.
In an article published by Americas/Society, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) said that the FTA would not only benefit Canadian workers, but would help the Colombian economy; the deal would “stimulate growth in commercial relations, raise awareness and further open this dynamic and growing economy to Canadian know-how and ingenuity.”
“The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement will signal Canada’s strong support for the pro-growth initiatives of President Uribe, and will further increase confidence in doing business in Colombia.”
The article also notes that Colombia is currently pursuing improved trading relations with South Korea, Japan and the E.U., as well as having signed the pending trade agreement with the U.S.; “Implementing the Canada-Colombia agreement quickly represents an opportunity for Canada to get out in front of our international competitors.”
The deal has faced opposition in Canada because of concerns about human rights. The CCCE asserts that “very strong provisions on labor standards” have been incorporated into the agreement, and quotes the Canadian Department of Human Resources and Skills Development as saying that “the agreement signed with Colombia represents the most comprehensive labor agreement in the world today.”
Colombia’s tariffs on Canadian goods currently range from 15% to 108%. Canada exported C$212 million of farm products to Colombia last year, with wheat, lentils, barley and peas the top items. It imported C$297 million of agricultural products from Colombia, mainly coffee, bananas and cut flowers.