Today, Congressman Mike Michaud, Chairman of the House Trade Working Group, released the following statement in reaction to the White House announcing that a free trade agreement with Colombia would go into effect on May 15th. Labor and human rights activists have expressed opposition to this date, especially since they do not believe that Colombia has met all of the requirements of the Labor Action Plan.
"I'm disappointed and very concerned that the White House announced yesterday that Colombia has met all of the requirements of the Labor Action Plan and the free trade agreement will take effect next month. The fight to improve workers rights in Colombia -- which has the highest rate of violence against unionists in the world -- is a long-term effort and should have been prioritized over implementation of the agreement. Despite this setback I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Colombia Monitoring Group to ensure that internationally recognized labor rights are guaranteed for Colombian workers."