Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) released the following statement on the congressional delegation's visit to Colombia:
"Colombia is undergoing a historic moment that has the power to transform the South America region and impact the global economy. The last few days have been a successful fact-finding mission, where we were warmly welcomed by Colombian workers, labor leaders, human rights activists, government officials, and members of civil society. Our delegation had the privilege of meeting with Vice President Francia Márquez and several members of the historic Petro Administration and Congress, and discussed labor rights, environmental protections, and the redistribution of farming land, all as potential economic drivers. From a joint meeting with the Ministers of Labor and Trade, and stops with the Ministers of Agriculture and Environment, this Administration has important goals, and we look forward to supporting their effort to make total peace a reality.
"Worker-centric trade policies are the path forward to unlocking opportunity and spreading prosperity more broadly, and exactly why we began our visit meeting with Colombian labor leaders and workers. We heard directly from a diverse group--some of whom even weathered a landslide to share their experiences with us. Much of what was shared stands in stark contradiction to the Labor Action Plan that is the foundation of our Free Trade Agreement. Trade unionists still face grave threats in organizing; the workers for Teleperformance call centers and those in the predominantly-female flower sector struggle with concerning working conditions and no job security; and there's a growing sector of informal workers who lack any protections. We are eager to use the tools under the Ways and Means Committee's jurisdiction to aid in a new economic chapter for Colombia--one that allows for inclusive success.
"The United States and Colombia share a commitment to democratic values, which we emphasized in our trade policy discussions. Now is the time to focus on policies that will right the wrongs of the past. From the complicated war on drugs to combatting climate change and protecting the Amazon, to full economic and social inclusion of women, Afro-Colombian, and Indigenous communities, there's much we can do together.
"Embassy Bogotá went above and beyond to make our visit a success, and I thank them for all their work in making this trip possible at such a pivotal time. Looking ahead, Chile is a key partner for our country on many fronts, and we welcome this opportunity to engage with their new administration."