Colombian has defended its human rights record and progress on environmental protection in a bid to safeguard the free trade agreement (FTA) signed with the European Union (E.U.) earlier this year, reported local media Tuesday.
Colombia’s ambassador to the E.U., Rodrigo Rivera, stood before the International Trade Commission of the European Parliament highlighting the supposed progress made in the areas of human rights and environmental protection.
Responding to concerns in the European Parliament, Rivera announced that Colombia has set 56 “specific, clear, realistic, ambitious” targets relating to human rights, the strengthening of justice, social dialogue and environmental commitments.
Colombia’s Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados signed the FTA with the E.U. in Brussels on June 26. The International Trade Commission is expected to rule on ratification of the FTA by the end of November.
Rivera’s performance in Europe is likely an attempt to avoid the continued delays that occurred with the ratification of the Colombia-US FTA. The FTA between Colombia and the U.S was signed in 2006 but was ratified and put into effect until 2012. The primary obstacles were concerns from U.S. legislators that the deal did not contain sufficient protection for workers.