Cablegate: Panama (Ftaa/Tnc): Strong Support for the G-14
UNCLAS PANAMA 000584
BUENOS AIRES PLS PASS TO AMB. ALLGEIER, USTR FOR JWOLFE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD PM ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
SUBJECT: PANAMA (FTAA/TNC): STRONG SUPPORT FOR THE G-14
PROCESS AND MOVING FORWARD ON THE PLURILATERAL
REF: STATE 44578
1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified, please
2. (SBU) Panamanian Vice Minister for Foreign Trade Romel
Adames told Econ Chief on March 8 that Panama would strongly
support the USG position within the G-14 and moving forward
with agreement on procedures for plurilateral negotiations.
Adames added that at the February TNC Panama was prepared to
"sign on" to the plurilateral, but understood why things were
not there yet.
3. (SBU) However, with regard to the plurilateral, he was
clearly concerned about three aspects. First, overlap with
the upcoming U.S.- Panama FTA negotiations. He noted that
some in Panama are concerned that "if we go too far in the
FTAA plurilateral there is no reason for the FTA," but added
that everything would be open in the bilateral. He was also
not keen on having the possibility of "free riders" in areas
such as government procurement. Secondly, he expressed
concern about a Caricom provision whereby that organization
would receive an exclusion for certain EU subsidies, adding
that this created a systemic problem if you make exceptions
by name, but seemed open to putting such coverage in an
annex. (Note: on the subsidies in question, he did not know
what products they covered and requested clarification).
Lastly, he expressed concern about a U.S. proposal whereby
the U.S. would reserve the right to reimpose export subsidies
if a country allowed product carrying export subsidies in.
He said this would create a problem if Panama were to remove
tariff barriers. He added, "we understand your concerns, can
you see ours?"
4. (SBU) VM Adames said that because of civil society
outreach in Panama on the upcoming bilateral, he might not
arrive in Puebla until March 19. Nonetheless, the U.S. could
count on Panama at the TNC meeting.