U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden offered their assurances Friday that the U.S. government is committed to ratifying the free trade agreement with Colombia.
Following a meeting in Washington with Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon, Clinton stated that the U.S. government will send the agreement to Congress when the final text satisfies the objections of legislators, reports El Colombiano Friday.
“We want to ratify the agreement. To ratify it, we must be able to defend it in Congress and that is what I plan to do,” said Clinton. “Negotiations are still ongoing and, as the vice president and I discussed, when we have agreed on the text, we will send it to Congress as soon as possible.”
The Colombian government “knows what it needs to do to get a positive result,” she added, although she did not specify what text Washington wants changed.
Vice President Biden also expressed his country’s commitment to achieving a “successful conclusion” to the treaty, which was originally signed in 2006.
Biden further praised the “key reforms” sought by President Santos’ government, while offering “condolences for the devastation” of the recent floods and noting that closer economic ties between the two countries could aid the recovery.
This completes a week-long Washington trip for Garzon, who thanked the U.S. government and Congress for their readiness to renew trade preferences with Andean countries.
The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), which gives duty-free access to U.S. markets for many Colombian exports, expires next month but is expected to be extended by at least 18 months.