U.S. President Barack Obama said he is a “fierce defender” of the free market and will press Congress to pass a free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia this year.
The U.S. president mentioned that “different glitches” would first have to be negotiated with each country.
His comments to Business Week support those he made in his State of the Union speech late January, when he said that his administration seeks to “strengthen trade relations” with Colombia.
Colombia is waiting for the U.S. Congress to ratify a FTA signed by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2006.
The FTA has been blocked by Democrats in U.S. Congress, who are concerned about Colombia’s human rights record and treatment of organized labor.