The Colombian government says the free trade agreement with the European Union should take effect in September.
The Trade, Industry and Tourism Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados said the government is optimistic that the legislators of all the parties involved will approve and ratify the bill in the next eight months.
European trade unions oppose the deal due to the ongoing violence against trade unionists in Colombia — they say it should only be signed once Colombia improves its record on workers rights.
But Diaz-Granados told Spanish news agency EFE that the trade pact is due to be signed in April and as soon as this is done he will personally “begin the paperwork to take it to Congress and then to the [Colombian] Courts.”
He is also confident that in the second half of the year, specifically in September, the parliaments of the 27 European member countries will ratify the agreement so that it can go into effect immediately.
The minister said that Spain, as the European country with the closest links to Colombia, is taking a special interest in the free trade agreement as it will really strengthen commercial trade.
“These agreements will give us the opportunity to access a market of billions of customers,” said Diaz-Granados.