WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden assured Colombia on Friday that the White House was working hard on getting a long-delayed trade pact between their two countries passed by the U.S. Congress.
Biden, during a meeting with Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon, “expressed the administration’s commitment to working closely with ... Colombia and other key stakeholders on the successful conclusion of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement,” the White House said.
The trade deal was signed in November 2006 but has been bogged down by congressional opposition ever since. The AFL-CIO labor federation has said it will oppose any White House deal with U.S. lawmakers to approve the pact, citing violence against Colombian trade unionists.
Biden’s remarks followed a call to Congress by President Barack Obama in Tuesday’s State of the Union address to pass the pact, although the president did not spell out a time frame in which to get a deal done.
Biden also commended Garzon “for his leadership on issues related to labor and human rights,” the White House said.
Garzon said earlier this week that his country hoped the pact would pass in 2011.
Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Eric Beech