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Canada's free trade with Colombia healthy and growing

Canada's free trade with Colombia healthy and growing

Posted by Juan Gavasa on August 16, 2014

Colombia's trade commissioner says that three years into a bilateral free-trade deal with Canada, there's been double-digit annual growth in trade that is expected to continue well into the future.

Alvaro Concha said growth has come "not only in terms of dollars and exports, but also in diversifying the portfolio of what to sell to Canada; new companies selling to Canadian markets." Overall, trade between Canada and Colombia has increased by 10.6% since 2013 to $117 million.

Concha pointed to the apparel and agri-food sectors as having especially strong growth -- 45% and 33% respectively since the trade agreement was implemented. Concha had less to say about resource extraction sectors, only that work is being done to improve the legal framework within which foreign companies must operate.

Monica Gutierrez, director of the documentary "Justice Denied," said Canadian mining companies in Colombia have a legacy of "multiple environmental damages, labour, human and environmental rights violations." NDP trade critic Don Davies said his party supports international trade but only on terms that respect "the importance of protecting human rights and promoting democratic values."

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