The Colombia-U.S. free trade agreement looks increasingly problematic, and Colombia should focus on other trade opportunities, the country’s minister of trade said Friday.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata told El Tiempo that “the issue is complicated, we have talked with the [U.S.] Deputy Secretary of State and members of Congress, but the reality is that they have quite a tough trade policy.”
The minister said “we must be ready when there is a window of opportunity,” and therefore that in 2010 Colombia will continue “negotiating, ratifying and enforcing trade agreements with Canada, South Korea, Panama and the Dominican Republic.”
Colombia is also in negotiations, along with Peru, for a trade agreement with the EU.
The Andean nation’s foreign trade faced various problems in 2009, including the decline of the dollar, the decline in prices of raw materials, the international financial crisis, and diplomatic issues with neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador.
The Colombia-U.S. FTA was signed in late 2006, but has not yet been ratified by U.S. Congress, due to concerns about Colombia’s human rights record and the suppression of organised labor.