On May 15th of 2012, Colombia and the United States signed a free trade agreement called the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) that eliminates tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services between the two countries. An increase in trade has environmental implications and thus has become a concern for the Colombia’s Ministry of the Environment.
With the goal of implementing the resolutions stated in the TPA, in particular Chapter Eighteen of this treaty, “Environment,” the United States and Colombia signed an Environmental Cooperative Agreement (ECA) on April 19th of 2013. The goal of this agreement is to establish a framework for strengthening bilateral and/or regional environmental cooperation between Colombia and the United States on issues where the environment and trade intersect. By signing this treaty both Parties’ will ensure that trade and environmental policies are mutually supportive, it will promote the optimal use of resources, and it will strive to strengthen the links between the Parties’ trade and environmental policies and practices.
As stated in the ECA the mechanisms for cooperation will include:
“(a) Exchanging of delegations, professionals, technicians and specialists from the academic sector, nongovernmental organizations, industry and the governments, including study visits, to strengthen the development, implementation and assessment of environmental and natural resource policies, practices and standards; (b) organizing conferences, seminars, workshops, meetings, training sessions and outreach and education programs; (c) developing programs and activities, including technological and practical demonstrations, applied research projects, studies and reports; (d) facilitating partnerships, linkages or other new channels for the development and transfer of knowledge and technologies among representatives from academia, industry, international and nongovernmental organizations and government to promote the development and/or exchange of best practices and environmental information and data likely to be of interest to the Parties; (e) collecting, publishing and exchanging information on environmental policies, laws, standards, regulations, indicators, national environmental programs and compliance and enforcement mechanisms; and, (f) any other forms of environmental cooperation on which the Parties may agree.”
Overall this treaty will strengthen the ties between the United States and Colombia by creating new opportunities to work together to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.