Although President Barack Obama is expected to sign the trade agreement with Colombia as early as Thursday, it could take until the second quarter of 2013 to implement the trade deal, said the U.S. ambassador to Bogota Thursday.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, U.S. ambassador Michael McKinley said that “there are issues like the protection of intellectual property, customs, arbitration” that could delay the trade pact between seven and 18 months to take effect.
Also, “the concern remains for the rights of unionsists,” McKinley said in a seperate interview with W Radio.
When presenting the trade deal before U.S. Congress, U.S. President Obama had already warned that Colombia must first comply with “key elements” of a deal providing protection to Colombian workers and improving the prosecution of perpetrators of crimes committed against unionists.
“A number of these steps have been taken in fulfillment of the commitments Colombia made in the agreed Action Plan Related to Labor Rights that President Santos and I announced on April 7,” Obama said. “Colombia must successfully implement key elements of the Action Plan before I will bring the Agreement into force.”
Colombia’s ambassador to Washington, Gabriel Silva, told economic newspaper Portafolio that domestic legislative processes will delay the implementation of the FTA, including the approval of pre-requisite laws, decrees, and resolutions.
According to the newspaper’s editorial, “there is still a long road ahead which includes the making adequate of rules of both countries that was approved in the text of the deal, and logically, that the businesses can prepare themselves to make use of the advantages free trade offers.”
The newspaper estimates that the FTA needs at least a year to take effect.