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Cablegate: Panama Patiently Waiting for Tpa Approval

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHZP #0724 2482336
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 042336Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2476
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 000724

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018
TAGS: ECON PGOV ECIN EINV ETRD
SUBJECT: PANAMA PATIENTLY WAITING FOR TPA APPROVAL

Classified By: Ambassador Barbara Stephenson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d
).

-------
Summary
-------

1. (C) Minister of Trade and Industries Carmen Gisela Vergara
told the Ambassador that the government of Panama (GOP) is
willing to take direction from the U.S. Government (USG) in
promoting the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) in order to
improve the chances for Congressional approval. The GOP is
ready for the implementation phase of the TPA whenever the
U.S. is ready.

-------------------------
GOP's TPA Talking Points?
-------------------------

2. (C) During the Ambassador's August 26, 2008 courtesy call
with Minister of Trade and Industries (MICI) Carmen Gisela
Vergara, Vergara stated that the GOP respects the political
process of the United States and understands and relates to
political difficulties regarding the TPA. Vergara noted that
the GOP is ready for the implementation phase of the TPA
whenever the U.S. is ready - whether it be now, this fall, or
after the U.S. elections. She stated the GOP has the same
objective as the USG - passage and implementation of the TPA.
Therefore, the GOP is willing to take direction from the USG
in promoting the TPA in order to "not hinder" the chances for
Congressional approval.

--------------
IMPLEMENTATION
--------------

3. (C) Vergara noted that the GOP has moved forward to
implement certain portions of the TPA that are good for the
business climate and for transparency in government. Vergara
illustrated this point by discussing an Internet-based system
that allows exporters to gain permission for shipping goods
instead of waiting for a clerk to process the request during
normal business hours.

-----------------------
TRANSPARENCY/INNOVATION
-----------------------

4. (C) Vergara discussed how the Torrijos Administration
policies are driving transparency and innovation in Panama.
In addition to reforms called for by the TPA, the GOP is also
using the Office of the Secretary of Innovation to simplify
government processes to improve transparency and the business
climate. Examples are: the computerized system to track
shipments in the Colon Free Trade Zone which was implemented
this summer, the GOP's Internet-based procurement system
(PanamaCompra), and the Internet-based business registration
system (PanamaEmprende). According to Vergara, a business
can now register on-line in twenty minutes and immediately
print out the business license. Additionally, Vergara
believes these new systems minimize the opportunities for
corruption and increase transparency.
STEPHENSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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