AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the announcement was "deeply disappointing and troubling" and accused the administration of placing "commercial interests above the interests of workers and their trade unions." Dan Kovalik, a lawyer with the United Steelworkers, said the announcement was "premature in light of the continued violence against unionists and human rights defenders in Colombia."
Under the terms of the trade pact, more than 80 percent of industrial and manufactured products exported from the U.S. and Colombia will immediately become duty-free, making it cheaper for American businesses to sell their goods to the South American country.
The hemispheric summit wrapped up Sunday with few notable achievements. And much of the attention was on who wasn't there — namely, Cuba.
Some Central and South American leaders hoped to include language in the summit's final declaration stipulating that Cuba be included in the next gathering. But with the U.S. staunchly opposed to that effort, leaders decided to end their meetings without a final communique.
The U.S. insists that Cuba should not be allowed to attend the regional meetings until it enacts democratic reforms. Obama suggested Sunday that scenario may not be all that far away.
"There may be an opportunity in the coming years as Cuba begins to look at where it needs to go in order to give its people the kind of prosperity and opportunity that it needs, that it starts loosening up some constraints within that country, and that's something that we will welcome," he said.
Before departing, Obama had his only real encounter with the people of Cartagena, joining Santos in a celebration of the country's efforts to recognize Afro-Colombian communities that have been historically marginalized. The ceremony gave these communities, descendants of slaves, formal title to their land, and it prompted Obama to reflect on his own ancestry and his 2009 trip to Ghana with his family.
Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn and Frank Bajak in Colombia contributed to this report.
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