U.S. seeks to move Colombia trade relations forward
The Obama administration hopes to continue advancing the country's trade relations with Colombia.
'We look forward to continuing to work as partners with the Colombian government to expand our robust trading relationship and improve the ability of Colombians to exercise their fundamental labor rights,' said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Monday after meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who also met with President Obama.
Locke and Uribe discussed the importance of trade and commercial relations between the United States and Colombia and the strides the South American country has made to improving security, reducing violence and enhancing economic opportunities for its citizens under Uribe's leadership and the need for continued progress in those areas.
Both officials also highlighted the importance of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement and the governments' shared commitment to eventual passage of the agreement.
Trade groups with an interest in the implementation of the U.S.-Colombian free trade agreement viewed the meeting between the Obama and Uribe administrations as a positive step.
'The United States and Colombia must continue to work together to strengthen our strategic and economic ties to ensure that those advances are sustained,' said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council. 'Expanding trade relations is central to progress on other elements of the U.S.-Colombia bilateral agenda.
'We call on the administration to work with the Colombian government to agree on clear and measurable benchmarks to demonstrate the necessary progress on outstanding issues to bring the trade agreement before the U.S. Congress by a date certain,' he said.