Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Monday met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sideline of the inauguration of Uruguay President Jose Mujica in Montevideo.
According to a press release by the Colombian presidency, Uribe considered the meeting “very positive,” dealing with current regional issues like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
According to Uribe, the U.S. Secretary of State confirmed Washington’s plans to push a pending free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia. However, the Colombian president was not able to say how long it would take U.S. Congress to approve the pact.
However, according to the recently release U.S. Trade Policy Agenda, Colombia will need to improve labor rights before it can expect the ratification of the FTA.
“We have begun working with Colombia to assess and improve the labor code and the measures to address violence against labor union officials, to ensure that union rights in that country can be fully and freely exercised,” the report says, adding, “the Administration worked to identify what further steps Colombia’s government needs to take to ensure that workers’ fundamental labor rights are protected in law and practice.”
The free trade pact signed by Uribe and former U.S. President George W. Bush has been stalled in U.S. Congress over concerns about ongoing violence against labor rights workers in Colombia.