On June 21, 2010, Bill C-2, An Act to Implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Columbia, passed its third reading in the Senate. Upon royal assent the act will implement the Free Trade Agreement and the related agreements on the environment and labour cooperation entered into between Canada and the Republic of Colombia and signed at Lima, Peru on November 21, 2008.
The Canada-Columbia FTA will strengthen the investment ties between the two countries and advance the rights and protections for Canadian businesses that currently have, or that plan to make, investments in Columbia. The FTA provides for the free flow of capital to investments, protection against expropriation without compensation and requires Canadian investments and investors to receive fair and equitable treatment.
Because of its significant natural resources Columbia is an important investment destination for Canadian companies involved in mining and oil exploration. Speaking at an auction of oil exploration and production blocks the Energy and Mining Minister of Columbia, Hernan Martinez, stated that the Canada-Colombia FTA “opens the way for a lot of opportunities” for Canadian oil companies.
Columbia is South America’s forth largest oil producer and is in the process of auctioning off more than 200 exploration and production blocks in a process that could bring in between $250 and $500 million dollars.