US-Colombia

On 27 February 2006, the United States and Colombia reached a Trade Promotion Agreement whose negative impacts were immediately subjected to severe criticism by civil society. The perks granted to the US by the new FTA, especially concerning agriculture and national treatment, rapidly became public knowledge.

One controversial provision concerned quotas on “special” agricultural products that are allowed to enter Colombia in limited quantities without tariffs from the very first year of the FTA; these quotas were increased at the signing of the agreement. Furthermore, the US insisted on Colombia’s acceptance of beef from cows over 30 months, a latent animal and human health risk due to the possible entry of “mad cow” infected animals.

The agreement was approved by the Colombian Congress over the opposition of the Polo Democrático Alternativo and the Colombian Liberal Party. The U.S. Congress later emerged as its chief opponent, rejecting the treaty after the Democratic Party won majorities in both houses and adopted a more aggressive stance on Bush administration policies.

The Democrats argued that the Uribe government had not done enough to curtail the paramilitaries’ crimes against humanity. Colombia, they said, should first put an end to violence against trade unionists and peasants, and indict politicians implicated in the “paragate” scandal (collusion with the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces and with drug trafficking mafias).

A vote on the deal was put off in April 2008 after President Bush sent the corresponding bill to Congress despite a recommendation against this move on the part of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi sought a change to the House rules to prevent the fast-track timetable from kicking in.

In Colombia, opposition has remained firm in recent years, with various sectors mobilizing heavily to resist the FTA. The most recent large-scale mobilization was the “Minga,” in which indigenous people from all over the country traveled thousands of kilometers to Bogotá to reject the FTA, among other demands. Many other sectors of Colombian society signed on to the indigenous mobilization.

Despite the continuing resistance, the Colombian government benefitting from an improved image under President Santos (even though the policies and problems of the Uribe administration persist) won the approval for its FTA with the United States from the US Congress on 10 October 2011. It entered into force on 15 May 2012. Putting this FTA into motion required the approval of more than 15 regulations in the form of laws or decrees to bring Colombia legislation into line with the FTA on issues such as intellectual property, safeguards and tariffs.

last update: May 2012

Articles

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  • 23-Oct-2014 Dinero Colombia: TLC con Estados Unidos está dejando sinsabores
    En vez de lograrse un auge exportador por cuenta del TLC, se ha visto que las exportaciones hacia ese mercado pasaron de representar el 5,9% del PIB en 2012 a solo el 3,8% al cierre de 2014, según estimaciones de Anif.
  • 22-Oct-2014 Colombia Reports Colombia has complied with US trade pact labor reforms: Minister
    Colombia says it has complied with labor reforms required by US Congress as condition for their FTA but labour unions disagree.
  • 22-Sep-2014 Rebelión Estados Unidos reclama a Colombia por medicamentos genéricos, chatarra y demoras en propiedad intelectual
    La queja de Estados Unidos fue calificada en Colombia como un mensaje en favor de las multinacionales farmacéuticas de ese país que temen que sus mercados se podrían ver afectados con una significativa reducción de precios.
  • 8-Sep-2014 El Meridiano de Córdoba Lucharán por la soberanía alimentaria
    Montería. Las diferentes Dignidades del sector agropecuario del país conformarán una sola para luchar por la seguridad alimentaria del país.
  • 8-Sep-2014 La Nación Preocupación por importación de leche
    Colombia tiene TLC con Estados Unidos que le envía los contingentes de leche en polvo a menor precio y es competencia para los ganaderos quienes ven como los costos de producción son elevados.
  • 28-Aug-2014 TLC al desnudo Colombia: EE.UU. es el país que más contribuye a caída en exportaciones
    El principal socio comercial de Colombia es Estados Unidos y pese a ello durante los últimos meses, es el país que contribuye a la mayor caída en las exportaciones, que no es otra cosa que la salida legal de bienes hacia otro país o una zona franca colombiana.
  • 31-Jul-2014 TakePart.com ’Sharing is not a crime’: Why a Colombian student faces prison for posting research online
    A South American biologist who found a five-year-old master’s degree thesis online, then shared it with fellow graduate students on a Web page, could spend the next eight years in prison for copyright infringement — thanks to the US-Colombia FTA.
  • 5-May-2014 TruthOut In Colombia, free trade brings more poverty and more killings
    Colombian unions and farmers opposed the free trade agreement strongly, and today hold it responsible for increasing poverty while fostering a climate in which corporate rights are paramount and labor rights hardly exist.
  • 16-Apr-2014 ALAI Colombia: Happy birthday TLC?
    Un año más, podría pensarse que aún no es tiempo de evaluaciones, pero ni modo, hay que hacerlas porque si algo se ha hecho desde el sistema actual es prometer estrategias que en apariencia generarían resultados rápidos de crecimiento y desarrollo para el país y sus regiones. Desde la firma del TLC no ha sucedido nada de eso.
  • 9-Apr-2014 El Espectador Colombia: TLC y revaluación
    En los últimos años se han presentado cifras que constituyen una evidencia incontrastable del fracaso del TLC y del Banco de la República para estabilizar la balanza de pagos.
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    Links

  • RECALCA
    Red Colombiana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio y el ALCA (Colombian Action Network Against Free Trade and the FTAA)