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Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 30 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effects on levels of poverty and social inequality in Colombia of the implementation of the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia. (282626)

Free trade agreements can help alleviate poverty and inequality when combined with others measures. While it is difficult accurately to predict the precise effects of free trade agreements, the European Commission is currently undertaking a Sustainability Impact Assessment of the EU-Andean negotiations, a process which the UK strongly supports. This will provide a guide to its likely economic, social and environmental impact. The draft final assessment report is expected in July 2009.