The European Union (EU) said on Thursday that Colombia must reform its agriculture sector before Colombian agricultural products can enter the EU under the pending free trade agreement (FTA).
President of European Parliament Martin Schulz reportedly explained that reform measures dealing with agricultural products must be settled before export to the European Union market is possible.
The comments have echoed the United Nations’ (UN) view that agrarian reform must be undertaken to reduce inequality and stem the flood of violence that has engulfed the country.
Indeed, agrarian reform has been at the heart of the peace talks currently going on between the Colombian government and the country’s largest left-wing rebel group, the FARC.
Schulz will reportedly meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Vice President Angelino Garzon on Friday to discuss the trade deal between Colombia and the EU. A final agreement between the two sides has been pending ratification by Colombia’s congress since June of 2012, when it was officially signed into accord.
Colombia’s FTA with the European Union has been heavily criticized by some observers due to Colombia’s human and workers rights record. Activists have criticized the forthcoming FTA for an alleged lack of protection for workers.