A free trade pact approved by the U.S. and Colombian governments and currently awaiting ratification by U.S. Congress was poorly negotiated and could prove “disastrous” for Colombian farmers, Colombia’s Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo said Wednesday.
In an interview with RCN Radio, the minister slammed a clause in the pact that allows U.S. farmers to sell corn and dairy products to Colombia without having to pay tariffs. According to Restrepo, this could lead to a “disastrous situation” for domestic producers.
In the clause, U.S. exporters are allowed to supply 80% of the Colombian demand without having to pay import taxes.
The worst thing, said the minister, is that this takes effect the minute U.S. Congress approves the treaty.
Restrepo said it is unlikely the Colombian government will be able to renegotiate or amend the FTA, as it has already been approved by the previous administration of President Alvaro Uribe, Colombian Congress, and former U.S. President George W. Bush.