Republican presidential candidate John McCain
has urged the US Congress to agree to a free trade pact with Bogota. The Democrat-led body has stalled over the deal, amid fears over US jobs and union-related violence in Colombia.
On a visit to Bogota, McCain sought to soothe the concerns.
“Free trade is an important issue, not only for Colombia but, I believe, for the economy of the world and, as you know, for the United States economy,” he said.
“As you know, I have strongly supported education and re-training programmes for our displaced workers who face the challenges that America’s economy is undergoing as we speak.”
McCain is visiting Colombia and Mexico to showcase his foreign policy expertise. As well as trade, drug trafficking is also on the agenda.
Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe sees the free trade deal as crucial to stabilising its economic relationship with the US.
But many, including Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, argue that violence towards union members must be tackled before Congress can vote on the pact.