Colombia’s pending free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada passed the Canadian House of Commons on Monday, moving one step closer to its final approval, reports Portofolio.
With a vote of 188 to 79, the FTA, which overcame one of its most critical steps two weeks ago when it was approved by Canadian Parliament’s international trade committee 7 to 3, will now move on to the Senate for final approval.
“In adopting this free trade agreement, Canada will be in a very strong competitive position vis-a-vis our other competition around the world and this will mean a great deal to our agricultural sector,” Canadian Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said, following the House of Commons vote.
The two countries began talks on an FTA in 2007, and signed the deal in 2008. Following speedy approval by the Colombian Congress, the FTA has been stalled in the Canadian parliament due to opposition from critics in Canada over Colombia’s human rights record.
Canadian investment into Colombia between 2002 and 2009 surpassed $1 billion, which accounts for only 3.6% of the total foreign investment Colombia received during this period.
Trade between the two countries has risen dramatically in recent years, from $490 million in 2003 to $1.08 billion in 2009