Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is in Canada to attend the G8 summit, and said he hoped to briefly meet with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the two countries’ pending free trade agreement (FTA).
Uribe said an official meeting with the U.S. head of state has not been scheduled but that he will attempt to talk with Obama to push for the passing of the FTA by U.S. Congress.
Outgoing President Uribe arrived in Canada Thursday to participate in the summit at the special invitation of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Uribe said he will take the opportunity to promote the advances Colombia has made in terms of the economy, security and overcoming poverty.
“Colombia is a country that is improving, it still has a long way to go … but with the understanding of the international community, Colombia will overcome the difficulties that have afflicted it,” Uribe said upon arrival in Toronto, Canada.
The summit, which will be attended by the leaders the U.S., France, Italy, U.K., Japan, Canada, Germany and Russia, will focus on the theme of “Recovery and New Beginning.” At the summit the Colombian president will offer insight into the policies his government employed to increase security in the country.
The U.S.-Colombia FTA, signed in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration, has been on hold since the Democrats gained a congressional majority in 2007. The Democrats have applied pressure against the Colombian trade deal on the grounds of labor and human rights concerns, and because they think an FTA poses a threat to American jobs.
The Canadian Senate passed a bill approving its FTA with Colombia on Tuesday. Colombia began trade talks with Canada on an FTA in 2007, and signed the deal in 2008.