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Colombia suggests FTA with Venezuela — in exchange for the CAN

El Universal

Caracas, Monday April 24, 2006

Colombia suggests FTA with Venezuela

Colombian authorities on the border with Venezuela have proposed Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez to negotiate a bilateral Free Trade Agreement in exchange for the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

Luis Morrelli, the Governor of Colombian Department Norte de Santander, one of the regions liable to be most affected when Venezuela’s withdrawal from CAN comes into force, suggested a bilateral treaty to overcome the crisis affecting the Andean integration.

"As a matter of fact, we could discuss with Venezuela about the Colombian goods that should have a preferential tariff treatment, and Colombia could act accordingly with Venezuela. Thus, a direct deal could be made," the official told reporters.

The Chamber of Trade of bordering Cúcuta called Monday an emergency meeting to explore the effects of Venezuela’s withdrawal from CAN, DPA reported.

Venezuela reiterated Sunday the decision of leaving CAN due to a trade agreement entered into by Colombia and the United States.

Colombian-Venezuelan trade accounts for USD 3.2 billion a year and provides about one million jobs on both sides of the borderline.

 source: El Universal