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House of Commons Hansard
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Colombia: EU External Trade
26 November 2009
Volume 501
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the status is of negotiations between the EU and Colombia on a free trade agreement; and if he will make a statement. [301570]

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The European Commission is pushing forward with negotiations towards a Multi-Party Trade Agreement with Colombia on behalf of the EU. The UK is leading efforts within the EU to ensure that any agreement with Colombia is linked to a robust human rights clause. This clause will enable us to suspend the agreement if it is breached, and will act as a catalyst for frank dialogue with Colombia on the issue. We believe that free trade agreements can help to create the right circumstances for improved stability, where human rights stand a better chance of flourishing. Denying Colombia access to the economic opportunities presented by the Multi-Party Trade Agreement would undermine this prospect.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made on his Department's work with the European Commission on the negotiation of a free trade agreement with Colombia. [301894]

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The European Commission is pushing forward with negotiations towards a Multi-Party Trade Agreement with Colombia on behalf of the EU. The UK is leading efforts within the EU to ensure that any agreement with Colombia is linked to a robust human rights clause. This clause will enable us to suspend the agreement if it is breached, and will act as a catalyst for frank dialogue with Colombia on this issue. We believe that free trade agreements can help to create the right circumstances for improved stability, where human rights stand a better chance of flourishing. Denying Colombia access to the economic opportunities presented by the Multi-Party Trade Agreement would undermine this prospect.