The Huffington Post | 1/28/2011 12:00:00 AM
Drug War Trumps Free Trade in Colombia
With president Obama's State of the Union speech giving notice that free trade with Colombia is not a priority in Washington, Colombia's ability to attract foreign capital now depends on the security provided by US forces and trade incentives linked to the war on drugs.
ATPDEA is a decade old policy tool that provides Colombia with trade preferences to host US drug war personnel who help contain the FARC, right wing paramilitary units and others seeking to control coca producing land and prices. Thanks to ATPDEA over 90 percent of Colombian exports, including cut flowers, already enter the United States duty free without the need for the free trade agreement that's stalled on Capitol Hill.
Colombian vice president Angelino Garzon will visit Washington on Friday to lobby counterpart Joe Biden and secretary of state Hillary Clinton to renew ATPDEA. Garzon will also listen to NGOs and union officials share their concerns about human rights and labor issues in Colombia.
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