- Associated Press - Sunday, April 15, 2012

CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) — The Obama administration on Sunday said a free-trade agreement with Colombia can be fully implemented because of steps the Colombian government has taken to prevent violence against labor union members and to improve workers’ rights.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the trade pact will go into effect May 15.

The United States and Colombia agreed to the trade deal last year, but implementation of the pact was contingent on Colombia’s enacting reforms to protect unions.

The free-trade agreement has wide support in the U.S. business community. But many unions that otherwise support Mr. Obama have been critical of the trade deal, saying that Colombia still has an abysmal record of violence against labor union members.