OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is “very close” to concluding free trade negotiations with Colombia, Trade Minister David Emerson said on Monday, calling those opposed to the deal on human rights grounds as simply “dogmatic.”
Emerson also presented legislation to Parliament to enact a free trade pact with the European Free Trade Association, comprised of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
And from Bloomberg, citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership on the issue:
Harper has made the issue a priority, saying an agreement will help improve democracy in Colombia and help President Alvaro Uribe stem violence against labor leaders.
A Canada-Colombia accord also would give Canadian farmers preferential access to the U.S.’s third largest market for wheat exports in Latin America at a time when Democrats in Congress are stalling a similar deal over concerns about violence against labor organizers in Colombia.
Colombia’s Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderón is visiting Canada this week.
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