"In November 2003, the Administration notified Congress that it intended to begin negotiations on a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. The notification said that an FTA would reduce and eliminate foreign barriers to trade and investment and would support democracy and fight drug activity in the Andean region. The Andean governments wanted to ensure access to the U.S. market, especially since their current trade preferences will terminate at the end of 2006. In the United States, the business community strongly supports the trade agreement, labor opposes it, and agriculture is split. The first round of negotiations was held with Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador (with Bolivia participating as an observer) in Cartagena, Colombia, in May 2004. Twelve rounds have been held thus far. The latest round was held in Cartagena, Colombia on September 19-23, 2005. Reports suggest that progress was made and that negotiators expect to conclude the agreement by the end of 2005. The next round, scheduled in mid-October in Washington, D.C., is expected to be the final round of negotiations and the final agreement is expected to be concluded in November. The Cartagena talks drew an estimated 7,000 protestors while Ecuador and Peru also faced strong protests. Of note, after the negotiations Ecuador announced that its entry into the agreement would be delayed. In the last few months, Ecuador and Bolivia have had sudden changes in their presidencies."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32770
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/