The free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia took effect Monday.
According to various media, the FTA will open up access to 97.9% of agricultural goods and nearly full access to all other industries between the two countries.
Colombia’s Economy, Industry, and Tourism Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados expressed optimism that the FTA will open opportunities for more foreign investment in the telecommunications, food, energy, mining, and paper industries from one of the top 10 providers of foreign direct investment in the world.
“Modern rules in investments were negotiated… necessary to ensure the greatest flow of capital from Canada, a country that over 10 years has accumulated, on average, $1 billion in Colombia,” explained Diaz-Granados.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Canadian Prime Minister took to defending the FTA, arguing that critics who use Colombia’s human rights violations as against the FTA are actually just trade protectionists.
“No good purpose is served in this country or in the United States by anybody who is standing in the way of the development of the prosperity of Colombia.” Harper added, “Colombia is a wonderful country with great possibility and great ambition. And we need to be encouraging that every step of the way. That’s why we have made this a priority to get this deal done. We can’t block the progress of a country like this for protectionist reasons.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also weighed in on the impact of the FTA. According to to the Colombian head of state, “it creates a synery and for this were are very hopeful of the benefits in terms of employment, which is what most interests us, and in the Colombian case the fight against poverty. This agreement will help us boost our economy to have resources to achieve these objectives.”