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Colombia

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria are used in assessing the merits of negotiating trade agreements with Colombia; and what consideration is given to the application of EU policy on human rights in relation to such negotiations. (282624)

The key economic criteria for the EU’s free-trade agreement partners should be market potential (economic size and growth) and the level of protection against EU export interests (tariffs and non-tariff barriers). This was set out in the 2006 Global Europe Paper. The UK is working within the EU to ensure that any free trade agreement with the Andean countries takes account of the EU stance on human rights in Colombia in this context.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had at EU level on the conditions relating to the (a) labour rights and (b) human rights policies of the Colombian government to which negotiation of the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia is subject. (282625)

The UK remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Colombia. The UK is working within the EU to ensure that any free trade agreement with Colombia includes a link to a human rights clause as an essential element.