Colombia anticipates free trade deal with Panama in weeks
23 January 2010
Visiting Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Friday that his government is working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Panama, which could be reached "in a few weeks."
"We have all the enthusiasm to achieve in a few weeks the FTA with Panama," Uribe said at a regional business conference.
Uribe added that his country has been signing trade agreements with many countries, which has boosted its foreign trade and benefited its economy.
A free trade deal is expected to greatly enhance commercial links between Colombia and Panama. Their two-way trade generated some 185 million U.S. dollars annually.
Uribe also called for more efforts to finish the Colombia-Panama section of the Pan-American highway.
An 87-km stretch of rainforest between the borders of Colombia and Panama has been a controversial part of the ambitious highway.
Many groups and environmentalists have been against completing the section between Panama’s Darien Province and the Darien Gap on the Colombian border.
They believed a road link will destroy the rainforest in the area, disrupt the lives of indigenous peoples and lead to rampant drug trafficking.