Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reported that all members of the U.S. delegation which visited Bogota on Tuesday support quick approval of the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), according to a press release from the president’s office.
The delegation, representing both major U.S. political parties, was made up of six members of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives, the committee which will be responsible for passing the FTA after it is presented to the U.S. Congress by President Barack Obama.
“We welcome this delegation of such important congressmen that visit us this week … All are in favor of the free trade agreement. They have told us that as soon as it is presented they will use their good standing to approve it as quickly as possible,” said Santos, upon finishing the three hour meeting.
“We also have spoken about what will happen after the agreement is approved. The relation with the United States is … a strategic relation. For this reason once … the free trade agreement is approved, these relations will continue being strengthened by all possible means.”
Republican congressman David Camp, leader of the delegation, said that he hopes that ratification of the FTA between the two countries will be approved this summer, Caracol Radio reported.
“We have had some very important and productive discussions regarding the path forward to the future, because we want the free trade agreement to be approved in the United States this summer, in July,” said Camp.
Democrat Steny Hoyer added that the delegation will report the advances that Colombia has made in the Plan of Action in order to move forward the approval process.
No comments have been published on the part of Santos or the U.S. congressmen regarding disagreement over the extradition of alleged Venezuelan drug lord Walid Makled to his home country, rather than to the U.S.
An aggressive letter sent to Santos over a week ago by Republican delegation member Aaron Schock and Republican Michael McCaul, made public on Monday, expressed strong disapproval over the decision, and indicated that this could hinder the FTA approval process.