Colombia Reports
April 18, 2009

U.S. president Barack Obama has given "instructions" to his Trade Representative Ron Kirk to start talks with Colombia about the pending free trade agreement between the two countries, Colombia’s Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata said Friday.

According to the Trade Minister, Ron Kirk talked to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe on the side of the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago and told Uribe about his assignment to advance on the issue.

Plata told press agency AP that he will soon travel to Washington to talk to "technical teams and to sit down to work"on the approval of the trade pact, that is currently being blocked by both the Democratic majority in U.S. Congress and the U.S. Presidency.

"Representative Kirk said that he had come with instructions of President Obama to deal with the issue, to sit down with us and look at the agenda, to make a work schedule and start the development plen," Plata said.

Colombia has been lobbying in Washington extensively to have the controversial FTA approved, but the doors of the White House stayed closed after Obama took office in January. An attempt to arrange Uribe to meet with Obama on the side of the Americas summit failed.