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Canada - Colombia FTA: ¡Viva la Muerte!

June 11, 2008

Canada - Colombia FTA: ¡Viva la Muerte!

On June 7th, Foreign Affairs Canada announced that the negotiations for the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement have been concluded.

The entire negotiation process has been secret and there is no public draft text of the agreement to speak of.

According to FAC, "Before signing the agreements and making them public, Canada and Colombia will undertake a detailed legal review of the texts in English, French and Spanish. In Canada, the treaties will then be tabled in the House of Commons for a period of 21 sitting days. During that time, members of parliament will be able to review, debate, vote on a motion, or send the agreements to committee for further review. Following the 21-day period, the Government plans to introduce draft legislation to implement the agreements."

Both countries are playing up the labour and environmental agreements that accompany the FTA, this at a time when the legitimacy of the Colombian Congress is questionable due to ongoing scandals, and the Canadian Liberal party is charging that the FTA was announced with "no respect for parliament."

While the Democrat controlled congress in the US has managed to block the ratification of the US-Colombia FTA, there is no such mechanism in Canada, and according to NDP MP Peter Julian, "Canada is pushing ahead with a trade agreement simply to satisfy George Bush and that is entirely inappropriate."

Update 1: Disaster in the Making: Canada Concludes Its Free Trade Agreement With Colombia, a new article by Todd Gordon about the finalization of negotiations.

Update 2: Canada-Colombia FTA: When Democracy Gets in the Way, Just Sign It, eh? by Micheal Ó Tuathail.

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