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Colombian farmers blackball FTA negotiations

Colombian Farmers Blackball FTA Negotiations

Bogota, May 26 2005 (Prensa Latina) Colombia’s Farmers Association has urged its government not to attend the 10th Free Trade of Americas (FTA) Round of Negotiations with the US, to be held in June in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The SAC (the Spanish acronym of the farmers association) demanded that the Colombian government not participate in the talks unless Washington sets a date to discuss the agriculture issue, one of the most critical of the FTA.

Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are negotiating with the US the signing of a FTA since May 2004. That treaty should come into effect in 2006, but several disagreements are holding up its signing.

Agriculture is among the most controversial topics to reach a consensus since US negotiators refuse to debate health and phytosanitary matters.

Washington announced this week that it will not meet the Andean nations’ statements on medicines and bio-piracy.

The head of the Colombian negotiation team, Hernando José Gómez, declined to make any comment on the SAC’s stance and merely predicted that the Executive will analyze the decision.

In the meantime, the minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Jorge Humberto Botero, admitted that the agricultural sector is the hottest topic in the FTA negotiation.

 source: Prensa Latina