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Thursday 13 October 2011

Patricia Covarrubia

Long distance (and time) affair: the FTA between Colombia and the US

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Finally the wait is over for Colombia. After five years from the signature of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, the United States Congress approved it and now it is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama.

The waiting...is it over? Not yet. One of the longest phases is to come: Oh, yes! The implementation of the agreement, which is the adequacy of the rules of each country to the content of the FTA and then, the exchange of letters between the two governments to certify that they meet the requirements.

Thinking ahead (in baseball language)
Colombia did not wait in the doghouse. In 2009 Colombia issued three laws: to the interest of this blog we have law 1343 (intellectual property right – trade marks). Last year legislative process started for the accession to the Madrid Protocol which this year was ratified – law 1445 (homerun!). In progress (stealing a base?) there is the Budapest Treaty (International Deposit of Microorganisms, patents).

There are three more initiatives in IP (hit & run): accession to the Treaty of Brussels (on the distribution of Programs-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite); accession to the Treaty on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91) and also copyrights.

According to Colombia’s president the FTA will bring “more investment for infrastructure, industry, and for rural development.”

Any strikes or outs?
As in any FTA there is always going to be some controversial issues. For instance, the head of Colombian trade union federation, affirmed that Colombia economy is not ready to compete. Moreover, the Colombia Agriculture Minister foresees that there are two sectors which are in threat to agricultural production - the rice and dairy products.

RemarksWhile there is so many issues cover in this FTA: from human rights to postal services, we need to concentrate on what this blog encourage – IPRs. In this regard, I do notice that Colombia is having a good game and probably they have all the bases full and ready to hit the next ball. Indeed, it appears that Colombia quite soon will be one of the big players in South America – that is, to be Member of the majority of important Treaty and Conventions that there are for the protection of IPRs.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia