The Colombian Truckers Association began a protest Monday in southwest Colombia to prevent the transit of foreign cargo trucks into the country following claims of “unfair competition.”
According to the Colombian Truckers Association, the protest is being held because Ecuadorean workers have failed to comply with agreements established by the Community of Andean Nations regarding the transportation of cargo into the country. The Colombian workers want the cargo of the foreign truckers transferred over to Colombian companies at the border.
The secretary general of the Colombian Truckers Association, Ricardo Virviescas Serrano, said, “according to regional agreements, the Ecuadorean trucks are only able to enter the country until Ipiales, Nariño, where they must unload, but they often reach the border of Cauca.”
The truckers announced that they would not be staging any blockades but they they will no longer permit the entry of the foreign trucks into the interior of the country, due to their fear that the presence of foreign workers is damaging local labor opportunities.
The difference in gas prices between the two countries is being blamed for the conflict; with gas costing $3.30 more per barrel in Colombia than in Ecuador. The disparity in petrol prices means that Ecuadorean companies are able to offer their services at much cheaper prices than Colombian ones.
Economic activity in the border area with Ecuador has diminished significantly as a result of the presence of international freight vehicles.