Geneva Lunch | 25 May 2009
Free trade agreement with Colombia under pressure
Geneva, Switzerland (Le Temps, Fre) — Switzerland’s lower house of parliament, the National Council, is debating the free trade agreement with Colombia today 25 May. The government has signed it but needs to ratify the treaty. Citing “serious and systematic” human rights violations in Colombia, 33 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), led by Alliance Sud, the Berne Declaration and the Swiss Working Group on Colombia sent a letter 12 May (Fre) to deputies urging them not to ratify the trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) , of which Switzerland is a member, and Colombia.
The government of Norway, an EFTA member, decided to postpone its debate until after parliamentary elections in the autumn. The USA and Canada have both held up the ratification process, reports Le Temps. According to the NGOs, Switzerland should not ratify the agreement while other countries have reservations, and they cite marginal advantages to Colombia with the agreement.