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| 3/12/2010 12:00:00 AM

With Colombian free-trade deal, Ottawa pushes the 'right side' of Latin America

March 12--Canada's trade with Colombia is minimal, but new accord furthers Prime Minister's efforts to support free-market democracies.

It's the foreign policy that dare not speak its name. The Canadian government's desire to bolster fledgling free-market democracies in Latin America in an ideological competition with left-leaning, authoritarian nationalists like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is rarely expressed with force, even though it is at the heart of an Ottawa initiative.

The Harper government this week made ratifying a free-trade agreement with Colombia the first bill of the new Parliament over vociferous opposition from unions and human-rights groups.

Trade Minister Peter Van Loan portrayed the bill as a means to create jobs.

The Conservatives have another reason for expending so much effort on a trade deal with a country that buys less than two-tenths of 1 per cent of Canada's exports.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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