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For Immediate Release: June 9, 2008
Parliament and Experts Ignored
Government Concludes Free Trade Agreement with Colombia
Parliament, human rights, labour and environment experts are being ignored as Canada concludes free trade negotiations with Colombia. Trade Minister David Emerson announced the conclusion of negotiations on Saturday saying that environment and labour concerns will be dealt with in parallel agreements.
The negotiations concluded while the Standing Committee on International Trade was in the middle of studying the environmental impacts and human rights concerns of a trade deal with Colombia.
“The Trade Minister, in concluding the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, before the Standing Committee had time to wrap up its study, shows a disregard for consultation and transparency,” says Gerry Barr President and CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC).
Committee members, who traveled to Colombia in May as part of the Colombia free trade deal study, are still calling expert witnesses and have yet to write their report when the Trade Minister announced the conclusion of negotiations.
“Concluding this deal, especially before all testimony is in, is a serious misstep for Canada’s foreign policy in the Americas,” says Rusa Jeremic of KAIROS and member of CCIC’s Americas Policy Group. “It indicates Canada’s keen interest to do business with a government that has one of the worst human rights records in the Western Hemisphere.”
For more information contact:
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
(613) 241-7007 ext. 301
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