OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Legislation to implement Canada’s free-trade agreement with Colombia has received Royal Assent on June 29, announced Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade. The Canada-Colombia Free-Trade Agreement will come into force once Colombia completes its domestic process to ratify the agreement.

“I’m pleased that this free-trade agreement with Colombia, a key market in South America, is now law in Canada,” Mr. Van Loan said. “The agreement demonstrates our government’s commitment to an ambitious free-trade agenda. The agreement will benefit Canada’s producers and exporters, reduce or eliminate tariffs on nearly all current Canadian exports, and provide a more predictable, transparent and rules-based trading environment for Canadian investors.”

The Canada-Colombia free trade legislation includes parallel agreements on labor cooperation and the environment. Canada and Colombia agree to respect internationally recognized labor standards and principles, and to pursue high levels of environmental protection as the two countries intensify their commercial relationship.

“This agreement, along with Colombia’s recent move to reopen its market to Canadian cattle and beef, is yet another concrete result of this government’s tireless efforts to secure opportunities in the global market for Canadian farmers,” said Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This important agreement will provide Canadian exporters with immediate duty-free access to the Colombian market for products ranging from wheat and barley to lentils and peas.”

Colombia is a dynamic emerging market with a population of 48 million and an economy with high growth potential. It is a strategic destination for Canadian direct investment, especially in the mining, and oil and gas sectors. In 2009, bilateral merchandise trade with Colombia totaled nearly $1.3 billion.

For more information, visit Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.