Speculation is growing that news over the stalled U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement is imminent with the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and New York Times sources reporting an agreement could be announced Wednesday.
“I hear the administration reached a deal with Colombia and will begin making calls [Wedneday] morning to stakeholders,” a source told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
In addition, the Wall Street Journal’s source said that the U.S. administration is planning to announce “measures clearing the way to move forward with the Colombia trade agreement.”
Allegedly, a deal has been brokered between Bogota and Washington that has resolved the primary issue of labor rights in Colombia that has been blocking the movement of the FTA for five years.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that three people close to the agreement had confirmed that an agreement had finally been made after weeks of intense negotiations.
Though no official word has been given from either administration on the matter, the indications of significant movement on the FTA have been present in recent days with President Juan Manuel Santos saying on Saturday he hopes for visible progress within the first weeks of April.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk furthermore stated on Tuesday, “We have engaged with them every week over the last five weeks and we have made very strong progress.”
Santos is currently in the U.S. to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, having already spoken at Brown University on Tuesday.
According to Colombian radio station Caracol, diplomats of that country are trying to arrange a meeting between Santos and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.
Should the announcement on the FTA be made it will clear the way for the Obama administration to file it before Congress for ratification, removing a significant stumbling block to the U.S. trade agenda for the year that could also see an FTA with South Korea and Panama passed.