The U.S. government aims to submit the stalled free trade agreement with Colombia to Congress by the middle of the year, according to the State Department, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Matthew Rooney, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Canada, Mexico and regional economic policy, said that the government intends to have the deals ratified by the end of 2011.
“The objective is to have the FTAs transmitted to the Congress by around the middle of the year, with the objective of having them completed, approved by the Congress, maybe before the end of the year,” the official stated.
A U.S. delegation arrived in Colombia Tuesday in order to assess the progress made in defending the human rights of labor union members and preventing violence against them.
They are due to meet with trade unionists, NGOs, government officials and observers to analyze the situation in Colombia and will then provide a detailed report to President Obama.
“It is our aim to clarify the situation in Colombia, making a fresh analysis of the situation in that country,” noted the senior official, who also said that a similar similar process in Panama regarding its own FTA with the U.S.
The U.S.-Colombian FTA was originally signed in 2006 but has long been stalled primarily due to oppositional pressure from U.S. lawmakers over the issue of human rights.