Colombian President Álvaro Uribe answered questions before Canada’s House of Commons trade committee on Thursday, appealing to legislators to approve the pending Canada-Colombia free-trade agreement (FTA). The agreement was signed on November 21, 2008, and on March 26, 2009, the Canadian government introduced legislation to implement it.
The session was at times contentious, with Uribe raising his voice and employing animated gestures to defend his administration’s record in promoting human rights. Not only would passage of the FTA improve his government’s ability to improve and protect human rights, argued Uribe, but “the approval of the free-trade agreement will allow Colombia to overcome poverty, build equity, have a dynamic economy and integrate the country to the largest economies of the world.”
Although both the Left and the Right in Canada agree that human rights can be improved through trade linkages, “an agreement on the trade deal is not imminent.” A similar FTA with the United States stalled in Congress last year, but President Obama has vowed to get it passed.
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