Free Trade Agreement
of Prayer & Action
Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
The U.S.-Colombia FTA was signed by U.S. President George W. Bush and Colombia President Alvaro Uribe in 2006.
It has not yet been ratified by the U.S. Congress because of continuing human rights violations and corruption in
Colombia. In the summer of 2009, the Obama administration negotiated an agreement for U.S. access to seven military bases in Colombia and will provide $46 million for a major upgrade of the Palanquero airbase at Puerto Salgar, but the administration is still evaluating the U.S.-Colombia FTA.
For more details, see Witness for Peace
or Mennonite Central Committee (Washington Office)
You may contact your elected members of Congress --
Representatives and Senators -- through the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121), or
visit democracyinaction.org to send an email.
Other resources on the Colombia FTA
- U.S. Trade Representative
U.S. government resources on Colombia Free Trade Agreement (summary, complete text, other documents)
U.S. Bilateral FTA's (Free Trade Agreements)
The Colombia Free Trade Agreement includes nine major areas:
- Market Access
- Intellectual Property
- Subsidies Anti-Dumping
- Public Sector Purchasing
- Dispute Resolution
- Competition Policies
Intellectual Property Rights
Subsistence farmers in Colombia -- which include Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous people, and campesinos --
after a harvest every year will collect seeds and save them for the next planting season,
and the next season plant their crops from those seeds.
If corporations such as Monsanto were to be able to patent the seeds that these communities use,
Colombians would have to purchase seeds from the corporation. The seeds that they would sell to Colombians
would actually work for only one harvest. Farmers would have to go back each year to buy more seeds. They
would also need to go to the corporations to buy fertilizers and chemicals that control the pests.
[Note: Does this sound absurd? It has already happened, for example, in India following the 1995 ratification of an international
trade agreement which allowed international corporations -- and Monsanto in particular -- to patent seeds
and sell them at high prices to small farmers. See
www.imow.org for details.]
2007 Updates on Plan Colombia
and U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
June 1, 2007: Although Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe was re-elected by a substantial margin in 2006, his administration
has been linked to the indiscriminate violence in Colombia. More than a dozen current and former members of the
Colombian Congress (mostly members of Uribe's party) are now charged or in jail on charges including conspiracy
and murder linked with para-military groups, and others are under investigation. Also charged are the head of the
secret police, mayors, and former governors.
Also, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reported that the head of Colombia's armed forces has
collaborated with the illegal right-wing death squads.
So it is appropriate that Congress is reconsidering Plan Colombia and the U.S.- Colombia Free Trade Agreement,
and that $55 million worth of U.S. military aid to Colombia has been frozen at the request of Senator Patrick Leahy.
- American Friends Service Committee:
Audio Slide Show on Trade and War in Colombia.
- AfroColombians Oppose Free Trade Agreement, May 13, 2007.
For more information about the Peace and Justice Committee, see efpjc.ppjr.org.