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| 12/17/2008 12:00:00 AM

U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement Faces Uncertain Future

Dec 17 -- While Congress is busy hammering out bailout packages for America's banks and the Big Three automakers, a two-year-old trade deal between the U.S. and its strongest Latin American ally is languishing.

A trade agreement that was hammered out two years ago is languishing in Congress, and its supporters are warning that the United States could lose its closest ally in Latin America if it doesn't pass.

For 10 years, despite its troubled history of civil war and narcoterrorism, Colombia has been the staunchest Latin American supporter of America's War on Drugs. It has participated in programs such as the manual eradication and aerial spraying of coca plants, and it has seen a dramatic reduction in narcotics production and drug trafficking.

In February 2007, the United States and Colombia finalized the terms of the Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which would eliminate nearly all trade tariffs between the countries.

For Colombia, the agreement would make permanent an arrangement whereby nearly 91 percent of Colombian goods come into the U.S. duty-free.

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EDICIÓN 1855

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