01:07 GMT +318 October 2018
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    Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos speaks during a press conference in Bogota, Colombia October 27, 2017

    Why Washington-Bogota Trade Agreement is 'the Worst Deal for Colombia'

    © REUTERS / Jaime Saldarriaga
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    In 2012, a free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia went into effect. Spanish economist Mario Valencia told Sputnik Mundo that the deal has brought Colombia nothing except a foreign trade deficit, low exports and a complicated situation in the country's labor market.

    Mario Valencia, head of the Center for Labor Studies, a think tank, slammed the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement as the "worst deal for Colombia."

    "Any decision taken by the Colombian government to promote, protect or encourage local production is regarded in the agreement as an unacceptable obstacle to trade that could be the basis for a claim in an arbitration court, which the country has no chance to win," Valencia said.

    He recalled that in the past five years, only 38 products have made their way into the North American market.

    According to Valencia, the total revenues from these products' sales are limited to "ridiculous and insignificant amounts that do not contribute to the development of Colombia."

    "The results that we see today are only natural because the agreement's initial goal was to only bring benefits to the United States rather than Colombia. Therefore, the losses are very high," he pointed out.

    Valencia also pointed to the current situation in Colombia's labor market, which was significantly damaged by the country's free trade deal with the United States.

    "The inadequate level of professional training, low wages and poor working conditions have led to the weakening of the domestic market and a lack of consumption that could have encouraged local production," he said.

    Valencia warned that if Colombia wants to improve its development figures, the country needs to review the agreement, a task that he said should not be implemented by those who signed the initial deal.

    "The negotiating table should see professionals who can protect Colombia's interests rather than those of the United States," he concluded.


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