The Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA)

AFTA Overview
AFTA & Agriculture
AFTA & Access to Medicines
AFTA & Indigenous Rights
AFTA & Labor
AFTA & The Environment
Información sobre el TLC en Español

AFTA Overview
Last November, the Bush Administration announced an aggressive plan to negotiate another free trade agreement, in what appears to be an endless line of like attempts at opening up markets for corporate expansion in Latin America. The start of negotiations began just as talks for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) hit an impasse at the ministerial meeting in Miami, FL. Thus the Andean Free Trade Agreement or “AFTA” was introduced – like CAFTA – as an attempt to put the FTAA in place piece by piece. Negotiating parties include the United States, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Bolivia, currently participating as an observer, is expected to join the negotiations.

Most alarming about the AFTA is the audacity of the current Administration to negotiate a free trade agreement with Colombia — the country that currently leads the Western hemisphere in reported human rights and international humanitarian law violations (Human Rights Watch, January 2004). The negotiations belie an utter disrespect for labor and human rights. In point of fact, just under 200 unionists were killed last year alone in Colombia, making it the most dangerous country in the world for unionists. As one Colombian worker explains: “For more than twenty years I’ve worked as a trade unionist in a country where union work is like carrying a tombstone on your back.”[1]

The lack of labor rights provisions in the Andean FTA comes as little surprise however, as it is modeled after the US-Central American trade pact (CAFTA) which in addition to including no core, enforceable labor or environmental protections includes services provisions promoting the privatization and deregulation of fundamental public services. There has been strong popular resistance to privatization in the Americas in the past, much of which has ended in harsh repression. In June 2002, for example, two people died and 150 people were injured during six-day protests in Arequipa, Peru against a plan to privatize two electricity companies. Similarly, in Bolivia a water privatization plan by the California-based Bechtel corporation in Cochabama went awry when families received water bills equal to as much as 25 percent of their monthly income.[2] The price hikes sparked massive citywide protests that the Bolivian government sought to end by declaring a state of martial law. More than a hundred people were injured and one 17-year-old boy was killed. In April 2000, as protests continued, the privatization contract was terminated. Bechtel then filed a lawsuit against the people of Bolivia for $25 million in “potential” lost profits.[3]

The CAFTA model replicated in the Andean agreement would also remove all tariff barriers on imported agricultural products allowing cheaply grown and heavily subsidized U.S. corn and other basic grains to flood local markets (subsidies that almost exclusively benefit giant agribusiness in the U.S.). Peru’s Agricultural and Communities Front, which groups together more than a dozen associations of small-scale farmers, opposes plans to reduce import tariffs on agricultural products, arguing that Peru should not offer any reductions until the United States agrees to eliminate agriculture subsidies. “The free trade agreement is going to destroy traditional agriculture in Peru. Millions of farming families are going to be pushed deeper into poverty by tariff-free imports,” said Miguel Palacin.[4]

1. Giraldo, Hector de J., In My Country, Privatization is Enforced by Assassination, March 2003.
2. EarthJustice, Secretive World Bank Tribunal Bans Public and Media Participation in Bechtel Lawsuit over Access to Water, February 2003.
3. Ibid.
4. Daily Report for Executives, “Farm Tariffs, Intellectual Property Rights Seen as Main Obstacles to U.S.-Andean FTA” July 30, 2004.
What You Need to Know about AFTA Public Citizen
CAFTA & AFTA Talking Points International Relations Center, October 20, 2005
Declaration of Parliamentarians, Congressman, & Legislators of Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, & Bolivia before AFTA September 22, 2005
AFTA: Threats to Development Alliance for Responsible Trade, July 22, 2004

U.S. moves to suspend trade benefits for Bolivia Reuters, September 26, 2008
Letter Calling for Tobacco Exclusion from All Bilateral Trade Agreements Members of Congress, April 10, 2006
US & Colombia Conclude Free Trade Agreement United States Trade Representative, February 27, 2006
Columbia, Ecuador To Set Common Position in FTA Talks Dow Jones, January 16, 2006
Ecuador Police Break Up US Protests Associated Press, January 12, 2006
Colombian Ministers: New Trade Talks With US Start January 23 Dow Jones, January 11, 2006
US & Peru End Trade Impasse with Agreement Financial Times, December 7, 2005
A Decade of Bad Results Haunts AFTA Talks as “Last Round” of Talks Collapse Public Citizen, November 29, 2005
Colombia Halts US Free Trade Talks on Ag, Intellectual Property Dow Jones, November 23, 2005
Colombian TV Actors Take to Streets to Protest Proposed Trade Pact Associated Press, November 18, 2005

CAFTA & AFTA: Talking Points International Relations Center, October 20, 2005
AFTA Will Cause More Harm Than Good Unless the USTR Changes Course Now Washington Office of Latin America, October 19, 2005
Anti-Free Trade Protest Held in Colombia Associated Press, September 23, 2005
U.S., Three South American Nations Begin Talks Associated Press, September 19, 2005
Trade Pacts to the South Losing Appeal New York Times, June 30, 2005
Free Trade Proposal Splits Bolivian City New York Times, March 9, 2005
Colombia Min: US Trade Deal Should Lift Tariffs Gradually Associated Press, February 8, 2005
Statement on the Andean Free Trade Agreement Delegation of Bishops from the Andean Region, February 8, 2005
Peru Expects U.S. Free Trade Agreement by July, Minister Says Bloomberg, December 24, 2004
Four-Way Tucson Trade Talks Quickly Hailed as a Success Arizona Daily Star, December 5, 2004

U.S.-Andean Trade Talks Extended Reuters, December 4, 2004
U.S. Opens Industrial Markets to Andeans United Press International, December 3, 2004
Four-Way Trade Talks Encounter Discord Arizona Daily Star, December 1, 2004
U.S. Seeks to Allay Andean Concerns Arizona Daily Star, November 30, 2004
The U.S. Andean Free Trade Agreement Chokes Along Interhemispheric Resource Center, November 2, 2004
Peru Wants Trade Pact by 2005 Houston Chronicle, October 8, 2004
Colombia Top Priority in Andean Trade Talks Reuters, September 29, 2004
Puerto Rico: In Search of “Lost Floor” of the ATPA-DEA La Republica (Peru), September 14, 2004
Latin American Bishops Caution Against Effects of Free Trade Pacts Catholic News Service, September 14, 2004
Letter to Andean Parliamentarians on Investment Chapter of U.S-Andean FTA U.S. NGO’s, September 13, 2004

Peru Negotiator Calls US Inflexible In Free-Trade Talks Dow Jones Newswires, August 26, 2004
Colombia Sends Exports List To US For Free Trade Talks Dow Jones Newswires, July 7, 2004
Concern For Colombia’s ‘Little Guy’ Washington Post, June 24, 2004
U.S. Tack on Trade Treaties Assailed Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 23, 2004
U.S., State Hope to Push Deals During Atlanta Trade Talks Associated Press, June 14, 2004
U.S. and Andean Groups Demand Accountability in Free Trade Talks Alliance for Responsible Trade, June 11, 2004
UN Committee Warns Ecuador That US-Andean FTA Must Not Undermine Human Rights 3D-Three, May 18, 2004
Andean Countries Scramble for U.S. Free-Trade Pact Reuters, May 2004

AFTA & Agriculture
Colombian Farmers Fear Cheap US Imports Associated Press, April 26, 2006
Agriculture Stalls US Trade Talks Bloomberg, November 22, 2005
Letter to USTR on Agriculure, Intellectual Property, and Labor November 7, 2005
Tree Oil Plan Tries to Bear Fruit Houston Chronicle, February 6, 2005
Trade Winds Buffet State’s Farmers Seattle Times, June 28, 2004
Foreign Agriculture Bruising “Grown in Washington” Label Seattle Times, June 27, 2004
Peru Cattle Ranchers March To Protest Free Trade Pact Associated Press, October 26, 2004
Agriculture & AFTA Washington Office on Latin America, October 2004
Colombia Must Be Firm in US Trade Talks: Stiglitz Reuters, October 21, 2004
Protests Against Anti-Drug Crop Spraying Across Border Heat Up Inter Press Service, September 25, 2004

AFTA & Access to Medicines
Fact Sheets & Reports
Impact of FTA on Access to Medicines Peru frente al TLC
US-Andean FTA: Access to Medicine Overview Peru frente al TLC
US-Peru FTA: A Free Trade Agreement Made to Order for the Pharmaceutical Industry Health Action International, January 2006
Impact of AFTA on Access to Medicines & Health in Colombia Health Mission Foundation, November 2005
Evaluation of Potential Effects of Peru FTA on Access to Medicines Health Ministry of Peru, April 2005 In Spanish
UN Committee Warns Ecuador That US-Andean FTA Must Not Undermine Human Rights 3D-Three, May 18, 2004 En Español
FTA Will Put Access to Life-Saving Medicines in Peru and Region at Risk Medecins Sans Frontieres, May 14, 2004

Articles & Statements
Ecuadorian Organizations Cite Health Threats in FTA March 23, 2006
Letter to USTR Robert Portman on Intellectual Property Provisions November 10, 2005
Drug Patents Stall Trade Talks Bloomberg, February 11, 2005
Open Letter to Ministers of Trade in Countries Negotiating the US-Andean FTA Médecins Sans Frontières, September 10, 2004
Trade Accord with US Could Endanger Right to Health Inter Press Service, July 15, 2004

AFTA & Indigenous Rights
Ecuador’s Indian Movement Halts Protest Associated Press, March 24, 2006
Ecuadoran Government Declares State of Emergency Associated Press, March 22, 2006
Ecuadorian Indigenous Groups Announce Protests Will Continue & Grow Around FTA March 20, 2006
Ecuador Quells Indian Trade Protest Associated Press, March 20, 2006
Free Trade Protests Lead to Resignation of Interior Minister in Ecuador Associated Press, March 16, 2006
The Tyranny of Free Trade: Wasted Natural Wealth & Lost Livlihoods Friends of the Earth, December 9, 2005
Andean Nations Seek US Patent Protection for Native Medicines Bloomberg, November 17, 2005
The day George Bush came face to face with Latin America’s revolt The Guardian, November 5, 2005
Colombia: Indigenous Women Reclaim Traditional Medicine Tierramérica, October 14, 2004
Indigenous March for Peace Inter Press Service, September 20, 2004

AFTA & Labor
Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights in Colombia 2006 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, June 7, 2006
Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights in Ecuador 2006 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, June 7, 2006
Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights in Peru 2006 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, June 7, 2006
NAFTA Took Jobs, Workers From Mexico My San Antonio, April 13, 2006
US Labor Seeks to Stop Oman, Colombia, Peru Pacts Reuters, March 17, 2006
Bush Administration Cannot Fail to Address Labor Rights in Peru FTA Rep. Chalrles Rangel & Rep. Benjamin Cardin, March 10, 2006
Colombia, US Trade Partner, Violates Labor Rights Says US State Department Study Bloomberg, March 8, 2006
Letter to USTR Portman Opposing the US-Peru and Colombia FTA International Brotherhood of Teamsters, March 7, 2006
Report of the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy February 1, 2006
Members of US Congress, Labor Speak Out on AFTA Talks November 16, 2005

Letter to USTR on labor abuses in Ecuador & Columbia November 8, 2005
Letter to USTR on Agriculure, Intellectual Property, and Labor November 7, 2005
Union Worker, Luciano Molina, Murdered International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, September 13, 2005
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: The Cut Flower Industry in Ecuador International Labor Rights Fund, April 2005
Despite Claims By Colombian Government, Outlook for Columbian Trade Unionists Remains Bleak Washington Office on Latin America, March 2005
Congressional Letter to the Ecuadoran Minister of Foreign Trade on Worker Rights Violations in Ecuador February 1, 2005
Take Colombia To Task For Trade Union Murders Tucson Citizen, December 3, 2004
Assassination Is an Issue in Trade Talks New York Times, November 17, 2004
Colombian Government Explanation for Expulsion of Trade Unionists ‘Not Credible’ International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, November 5, 2004
Colombia: Global Unions Condemn Expulsion of International Trade Unionists International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, November 2, 2004

Ongoing Violence Against Colombian Trade Unionist Washington Office on Latin America, October 2004
Colombian Soldiers Said to Assassinate Union Leaders New York Times, September 7, 2004
Colombia: 30 unionists killed this year already International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, August 16, 2004
Attempted Assassination of Peruvian Trade Union Leader International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, July 9, 2004
U.S. Pursues Trade Agreement with Colombia Despite Notorious Human Rights Atrocities Citizens Trade Campaign, June 18, 2004
Rural Development and Labor Rights Major Issues in U.S.-Andean FTA Washington Office on Latin America, June 14, 2004

AFTA & The Environment
Ecuador Oil Move Prompts US Ire BBC, May 17, 2006
Letter from US Environmental Groups Opposing the US-Peru FTA March 10, 2006
Two Senators Express Concern Over Chevron Lobbying Tactics PRNewswire, February 14, 2006
The Tyranny of Free Trade: Wasted Natural Wealth & Lost Livlihoods Friends of the Earth, December 9, 2005
Andean Agreement Would Block Conservation of Natural Resources Tucson Citizen, December 2, 2004
Oil makes U.S. raise military stakes in Colombia Newsday, November 26, 2004
Andean Nations Clash with Washington on Patents Tierramérica, November 15, 2004
The Galapagos: Enchanted Islands or Political Spoils? Tierramerica, November 8, 2004
The Secret Trade Courts New York Times, September 27, 2004
Explosive Mix of Oil and Free Trade Inter Press Service, July 29, 2004

Información sobre el TLC en Español
¿Cuánto vale la biodiversidad andina? Tierramérica, 29 de enero 2005
‘Estados Unidos no quiere negociar agricultura’ El Tiempo (Colombia), 30 de noviembre 2004
Advierten sobre posible cambio en posición de Colombia en negociaciones del TLC con Estados Unidos El Tiempo (Colombia), 16 de noviembre 2004
TLC-ALCA: Paso muy lento en la 5ta ronda Mensajero Peruano, 2 de noviembre 2004
Aprende Colombia de experiencia mexicana en el TLCAN El Financiero, 29 de octubre 2004
Negociadores andinos defraudados por pretensiones de Estados Unidos La República (Perú), 27 de octubre 2004
Advierten que TLC causaría ola de despidos La República (Perú), 27 de octubre 2004
E.U. rechazó salvaguardias industriales presentadas por Colombia, Ecuador y Perú en el TLC El Tiempo (Colombia), 26 de octubre 2004
Colombia, Perú y Ecuador aceleran negociaciones de TLC con EEUU Agence France Presse, 26 de octubre 2004
Cinco mil productores de arroz en Tolima están viviendo la peor crisis de su historia El Tiempo (Colombia), 26 de octubre 2004

Colombia no firmará el TLC si se desconocen preferencias arancelarias ganadas por lucha antidrogas El Tiempo (Colombia), 25 de octubre 2004
Uribe enfrenta paro nacional Associated Press, 15 de octubre 2004
Capítulo laboral en el tratado abordó las reglas para negociar La República (Colombia), 24 de septiembre 2004
Balance Preliminar de la Ronda de Puerto Rico RECALCA, 21 de septiembre 2004
“Para un Tratado de Libre Comercio Justo y Solidario” Lee el pronunciamiento de los Obispos Peruanos, septiembre de 2004
Abismo cada vez mayor sobre propiedad intelectual El Tiempo (Colombia), 16 de septiembre 2004
Negociador peruano del TLC pasa a laborar en multinacional de EEUU Diario La República, 15 de septiembre 2004
Declaración en oposición a las negociaciones en Puerto Rico del TLC Andino – ALCA Lee la declaración del 14 de septiembre 2004
Puerto Rico: en búsqueda del ‘piso perdido’ del ATPDEA Diario La República, 14 de septiembre 2004
Pronunciamiento de la Conferencia Episcopal a Propósito del TLC Conferencia Episcopal de Colombia, 13 de septiembre 2004

Carta a los Miembros de los Congresos de los países de la región andina sobre el Tratado de Libre Comercio Lee la carta escrito por ONG’s de los Estados Unidos, 13 de septiembre 2004
Sociedad civil estadounidense cuestiona TLC con andinos El Diario (Bolivia), 11 de septiembre 2004
Movimiento contra el ALCA se declara en emergencia por TLC El Diario (Bolivia), 03 de septiembre 2004
Serias peticiones de Estados Unidos en patentes La República (Colombia), 01 de septiembre 2004
Fenocin pide suspender negociaciones del TLC Diario Hoy (Ecuador), 27 de agosto 2004
Conclusiones a las que llegó La FENOCIN luego del taller de información sobre el TLC dictasdo por el MICIP FENOCIN, 26 de agosto 2004
Tres intereses indirectos guían a EE.UU. en la negociación del TLC El Comercio, 20 de agosto 2004
Diputados de los EE.UU. evalúan el TLC El Universo (Ecuador), 17 de agosto 2004
Colombia: Este año ya fueron asesinados 30 sindicalistas Confederación Internacional de Organizaciones Sindicales Libres, 16 de agosto 2004
Notas de la Tercera Ronda de Negociaciones Mensajero Peruano, agosto de 2004

Carlos María Correa y la dignidad nacional Recalca, 2 de agosto 2004
LEl TLC solo beneficia a las grandes transnacionales y a los empresarios importadores y exportadores Lee el pronunciamiento de la Campaña Peruana frente al ALCA, el 23 de julio 2004
Demandan referéndum para el TLC La República (Perú), 23 de julio 2004
Intento de asesinato contra dirigente sindical peruano La Confederación Internacional de Organizaciones Sindicales Libres, 09 de julio 2004
Propiedad Intelectual: ¿el Caballo de Troya del TLC? Sociedad Peruana de Inventores, 2004
Población quiere instalar gobierno de emergencia en Perú Adital, 01 de julio 2004
TLC: EEUU muestra sus cartas en el tema de medicinas Hoy (Ecuador), 01 de julio 2004
Farmacéuticos advierten un posible conflicto por el TLC El Universo, 30 de junio 2004
Grupos Estadounidenses y Andinos Exigen Control Ciudadano sobre las Negociaciones de Acuerdos de Libre Comercio Alliance for Responsible Trade, 11 de junio 2004
Malos Presagios Red Colombiana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio y el ALCA, 10 de junio 2004

La Luna de Miel del TLC Llego a su Fin Portofolio, 08 junio de 2004
Regalar al país no es tan fácil Red Colombiana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio y el ALCA, 21 de mayo 2004
Tratado de Libre Comercio en Secreto Adital, 20 de mayo 2004
Un comité de las Naciones Unidas advierte al Ecuador de que el ALC entre los EE.UU. y la Comunidad Andina no debe socavar los derechos humanos 3D-Three, 18 de mayo 2004
Documento del Episcopado Colombiano sobre los Tratados de Libre Comercio El Catolicismo, 16 de marzo 2004