“The free trade agreement will expand Canada-Colombia trade and investment, and will help solidify ongoing efforts by the government of Colombia to create a more prosperous, equitable and secure democracy,” Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade David Emerson said in a statement.
The deal, pledged by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his first visit to Latin America in 2007, will also see Canada “delivering on its commitment to open up opportunities for Canadian business in the Americas and around the world,” Emerson added.
Once implemented, the agreement will see Colombia eliminate tariffs on most industrial products including paper, machinery and equipment, as well as on a majority of Canadian agricultural exports.
The accompanying labor and environment agreements “will ensure that progress on labour rights and environmental protection goes hand in hand with economic progress,” according to the Canadian government statement.
Colombia is a key trading post for Canadian companies. In 2007 bilateral trade rose to 1.14 billion dollars, while Canadian direct investment to Colombia during the same year was 739 million dollars, according to Ottawa.
Before it is formalized and made public, the accord goes to Canada’s House of Commons for debate.
The end of negotiations comes barely a week after Ottawa signed a free trade agreement with Peru, which included the elimination of most trade tariffs.
Canada-Peru two-way trade totalled 2.4 billion dollars in 2007. (AFP)