June 7, 2008 / 11:05 PM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX-Provisions of Canada's agreements with Colombia

June 7 (Reuters) - Canada said on Saturday it had completed free trade talks with Colombia after nearly a year of negotiations and reached agreement on related labor and environmental issues.

Here are the main provisions of the three agreements reached between the two countries.

TRADE

-- Canadian companies will benefit from the elimination or reduction of tariffs on key exports. Colombia's current applied tariff averages are 16.6 percent for agricultural goods and 11.8 percent for manufactured goods.

-- Colombia will eliminate tariffs on most industrial products, including paper, machinery and equipment, and certain chemicals as well as textiles and apparel.

-- The agreement will lock in market access for Canadian investors and provide them with greater stability, transparency and protection for their investments. Provisions would ensure free transfer of capital related to investment, to protect against expropriation without compensation and to provide for nondiscriminatory treatment of Canadian investments.

-- Investors will have access to binding international arbitration to resolve disputes.

-- The agreement will provide enhanced market access for service sectors of interest to Canada, including mining, energy and professional services.

-- Canada and Colombia have also reached agreement on comprehensive disciplines for the financial services sector, including banking, insurance and securities.

-- Professional bodies in both countries will negotiate mutual recognition agreements.

-- The agreement will give Canadian and Colombian suppliers improved market access in the area of government procurement.

-- The agreement will encourage Canadian and Colombian businesses to respect and follow internationally recognized corporate social responsibility standards. It also includes provisions designed to combat bribery and corruption.

LABOR

-- The two countries commit to ensuring that their laws respect the International Labor Organization 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

-- They have also committed to protections for occupational health and safety, and to minimum employment standards such as minimum wage and hours of work.

-- The agreement also includes a clause to prevent either country from weakening or reducing its domestic labor protections to encourage trade or investment.

ENVIRONMENT

-- Both countries agreed to pursue high levels of environmental protection and to strive to develop and improve their environmental laws and policies.

-- The agreement also includes key obligations that require Canada and Colombia to comply with and effectively enforce their domestic environmental laws and refrain from relaxing those laws to encourage trade or investment.

-- The agreement reaffirms both countries' commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to strengthen the protection of biological diversity and to respect indigenous and local communities. (Source: Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade backgrounder. For full document, click here (Compiled by Frank McGurty; Editing by Peter Cooney)




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