Colombia and the United States are to reinforce their commitments to the free trade agreement which celebrated its first anniversary in May.
The Council of Labor Affairs, intended to ensure that all commitments are being met by both countries, convened for the first time in Washington Wednesday and will continue meeting on Thursday. The council released a joint statement affirming both countries’ commitment to the success of the FTA.
Colombian Labor Minister Rafael Pardo was joined by senior U.S. representatives from the Department of Labor and the Department of State to discuss the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.
The meetings covered the progress and the obligations of the agreement as well other areas of cooperation, including enhanced social dialogue, job promotion and labor inspections.
In a joint statement released Thursday, the council “reaffirmed the Parties’ commitments … including the commitment to adopt and maintain in law and practice the rights,” that had been agreed upon.
The statement said the council “recognized the significant progress that Colombia has made and the challenges that remain,” while committing to “remain engaged on a regular and continuing basis to vigorously address those challenges.”
The U.S. also pledged $9 million to keep children out of the mining industry through culture and education campaigns.
The trade pact between the two political and economic allies came into effect on May 15, 2012. Since then, Colombian exports to the US dropped 13% while imports from the US went up 15%, according to preliminary figures by Colombia’s national statistics agency.