Viewing cable 07PANAMA28
Title: PANAMA MARKS CONCLUSION OF FTA (TPA) NEGOTIATIONS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07PANAMA282007-01-08 20:24:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Panama
VZCZCXYZ0027
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0028/01 0082024
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 082024Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9588
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 2486
RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON 0237
RUEHBH/AMEMBASSY NASSAU 0085
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0397
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS PANAMA 000028 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR STATE WHA/CEN TELLO AND WHA/EPSC MARTILOTTA 
ALSO FOR STATE EB/TPP/BTA/EWA LAMPRON 
STATE PASS USTR 
FOR TREASURY L.TRAN 
FOR COMMERCE GAISFORD 
FOR AGRICULTURE SPITZER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EFTA ETRD FAS FCSC PM
SUBJECT: PANAMA MARKS CONCLUSION OF FTA (TPA) NEGOTIATIONS 
 
 
 ¶1. (U) SUMMARY. The GoP is engaged in a full court press to 
solidify public support for the U.S.-Panama FTA (now renamed 
as a "Trade Promotion Agreement" or "TPA")  Working through 
the holidays, President Martin Torrijos led a December 27 
event to mark the conclusion of the TPA negotiations.  The 
principal themes were that the TPA negotiations were a team 
effort between the GoP and the private sector, and Panama 
negotiated a TPA on terms more favorable than any other TPA 
in the region. Media coverage of the event and conclusion of 
the TPA negotiations has been largely favorable. END SUMMARY. 
 
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GoP Touts Team Effort and "Best" TPA in Region 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
¶2. (U) On December 27, 2006, the GoP held an event to mark 
the conclusion of the TPA negotiations.  The event was 
attended by Torrijos, ForMin Samuel Lewis Navarro, GoP 
Minister of Commerce and Industry Alejandro Ferrer and 
leaders of various business and trade associations who 
participated in the negotiation process. Also present was the 
Ambassador, along with 200 representatives of private sector 
manufacturing, agricultural and services associations, and 
various GoP legislators and vice ministers. The event was 
carried live on Panamanian television. 
 
¶3. (U) Each speech carried two principal themes: (1) the TPA 
negotiations were a team effort between the GoP and the 
private sector and (2) Panama negotiated a TPA on terms more 
favorable than any other TPA in the region.  There was no 
mention that labor issues are subject to further 
negotiations.  Torrijos stated that the TPA negotiations 
represented a "consensus" between the private sector and the 
GoP.  Ferrer noted that during the negotiations process the 
GoP had over 300 meetings with business and trade 
associations. Various producer group leaders praised Ferrer 
for addressing each constituencies' concerns. 
 
¶4. (U) Several participants suggested that Panama has 
negotiated the most favorable TPA in the region.   Torrijos 
and Ferrer made special note of increased sugar quotas, 
sanitary and phyto-sanitary provisions which they 
characterized as maintaining Panamanian sovereignty over 
health standards, special protection for the coffee, potato 
and onion producers, and contract set asides for Panamanian 
companies to participate in the Panama Canal expansion 
project  In a full page December 28 newspaper ad paid for by 
the GoP, the headline read "FTA: The Best Treaty Negotiated 
with the U.S." 
 
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Media Coverage Positive - GoP Continues Full Court Press 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
¶5. (U) Media coverage of the event and conclusion of the TPA 
negotiations has been largely favorable.  Most editorials 
have been supportive of the TPA.  However, Panama's La 
Estrella newspaper reported that the Panamanian Ranchers 
Association (ANAGAN) held a meeting on December 27, 2006 to 
discuss concerns over sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues. 
The newspaper reported that former Agricultural Ministers and 
ANAGAN members, Laurentino Cortizo and Alejandro Posse, 
remain opposed to the TPA, while ANAGAN President Luis 
Martinez supported the TPA, calling it "positive." 
 
¶6. (U) GoP Vice Minister of Trade Carmen Gisela Vergara and 
Chief Trade Negotiator Leroy Sheffer are leading the GoP team 
through a series of encounters with various producer groups. 
The team is visiting key agricultural regions and is engaging 
with Panama City-based business leaders to explain the TPA 
deal and build support. 
 
¶7. (U) The Chairman of the Assembly's Commerce Committee told 
EconChief on December 27 that he expects the Assembly to 
ratify the TPA by a wide margin.  (Note: On December 15, 
2006, the Assembly unanimously ratified the Panama-Chile FTA.) 
 
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Comment: GoP Weds Private Sector to the TPA 
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¶8. (U) The December 27 event was an attempt to boost momentum 
for TPA support.  The event was also meant to show solidarity 
between the public and private sector in the hope of, among 
other things, deflecting any charges that the GoP agreed to a 
TPA without consulting with the private sector.  The event 
married the trade and business associations to the GoP on the 
TPA.  Few trade or business leaders will be able to attack 
the TPA without, directly or indirectly, attacking their own 
trade association.  A failure of the TPA in Panama would 
reflect as badly on the private sector as it would on the 
GoP.  Successful conclusion of the TPA negotiations 
solidifies Ferrer's standing in the Torrijos Administration's 
cabinet. END COMMENT. 
Eaton