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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 08:28, May 09, 2007
U.S. committed to Colombia trade accord, Plan Colombia
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The United States visiting deputy secretary of state, John Negroponte, reiterated on Tuesday U.S. commitment to putting in place a free trade agreement between the two nations,

"My visit is a message of support for our shared policies and for Colombia's economy," Negroponte told reporters during a visit to a flower farm on the plateau that hosts Colombian capital Bogota.

Negroponte said the government of incumbent U.S. president, George W. Bush, has committed not only to the agreement, but also the financing Plan Colombia, that fights drug trafficking and guerrilla activity in the South American country.

"The United States is a great friend of Colombia. We support Plan Colombia and we have come to an agreement on free trade that we hope will benefit from Congressional approval," he said.

Negroponte arrived in the early hours of Tuesday and has already met Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo. Bush visited Bogota on March 11 as part of a tour of five Latin American nations.

He also plans to meet Luis Plata, Colombia's Trade Minister, to speak about education, health, housing and social welfare, the foreign ministry said.

Legislators from the opposition Democrat Party in the United States opposed both the free trade agreement and Plan Colombia financing, because of Colombia's human rights record, which they call "questionable."

Colombian human rights groups say that government officials have close links to paramilitary groups, groups which have murdered union leaders and laborers based on little more than suspicion of links to guerrilla groups.

Source: Xinhua

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