This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA; H.R. 5724 and S. 2830): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians.
The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, or U.S. Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, is a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia, which will eventually eliminate tariffs and other barriers in bilateral trade in goods and services. The agreement will enter into force on May 15, 2012. The United States is Colombia's leading trade partner. Colombia accounts for a very small percentage of U.S. trade (1.0% in 2011), ranking 22nd among U.S. export markets and 23rd as a supplier of U.S. imports. Economic studies on the impact of a U.S.-Colombia FTA have found that, upon full implementation of an agreement, the impact on the United States would be positive but very small due to the small size of the Colombian economy when compared to that of the United States (about 2.2%). This report also discusses concerns that Congress has with Colombian human rights violations.