U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the pending free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, according to a Tweet by U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley on Monday evening.
Clinton “talked with Colombian Foreign Minister Bermudez this afternoon regarding bilateral issues, including trade” Crowley said via his Twitter account.
The secretary of state paid a brief visit to Colombia at the beginning of June, during which she reaffirmed her country’s support for Colombia in terms of security and development.
Colombia has been lobbying hard to get the FTA put before U.S. Congress in the hope that the agreement will be ratified.
The U.S.-Colombia FTA was originally signed in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration, but has been on hold since the Democrats gained a congressional majority in 2007. The Democrats have applied pressure against the Colombian trade deal on the grounds of labor and human rights concerns, and because they think an FTA poses a threat to American jobs.
U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez on Thursday gave Colombia further guarantees that the FTA will be passed by the U.S. Congress, but stressed that it will take time.
Colombia’s Vice President-elect Angelino Garzon on Friday said that the U.S. is in “ethical and moral debt to the government of Colombia” over the long-delayed FTA.
Mauricio Reina, technical secretary for Colombia’s Mission for Foreign Policy on Monday said that Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos must work to win over the U.S. Democrats, who are the main opposition to the FTA.