“As a press release from Foreign Affairs states, “Once implemented, the agreement will lock in market access for Canadian investors and provide them with greater stability, transparency and protection for their investments.”
Since NAFTA, Canadian-negotiated free trade deals have included chapters that provide extremely strong corporate investment rights (the infamous chapter 11 in NAFTA). That’s the “stability, transparency and protection” Foreign Affairs is talking about. Canadian multinationals will now be given privileged access to the Colombian market and its resources, backed up by the right to sue Colombian governments if they feel their rights under the trade agreement haven’t been fulfilled – as might be the case, for instance, if local community opposition halts a mining project. Canadian companies have in fact been actively litigious under the other trade agreements; they are more likely to sue foreign governments than their foreign counterparts are to sue Canadian governments.
Add to the new FTA the aggressive neoliberal restructuring Colombia has already undergone in the last several years, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded rewriting of its mining code (which allows corporations access to indigenous land) and the ridiculously low royalty rate imposed on foreign investors (as low as 5% in the oil sector and 0.4% in mining), and Canadian corporations could have a field day. Colombia is rich in petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, and hydropower – and Canada has the largest mining industry in the world, and not insignificant oil and hydropower sectors.”