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Cablegate: Usg Participation in the First Round of Us-Andean

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BOGOTA 004318

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT PLS PASS USTR; DEPT PLS PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD SENV ECON CO KLAB FTA
SUBJECT: USG PARTICIPATION IN THE FIRST ROUND OF US-ANDEAN
FTA TALKS


Sensitive but Unclassified -- Please protect accordingly

1. (U) To addressees from Ambassador William B. Wood.

2. (SBU) Colombia,s Minister of Commerce and the GOC,s lead
FTA negotiator have approached post to request that the USG
send as complete a delegation as possible to the upcoming FTA
talks in Bogota, May 18-19. Both officials stressed the
political significance that a full U.S. delegation to the
talks would represent for Colombian stakeholders, especially
those skeptical of U.S. intentions to negotiate in good
faith.

3. (SBU) While post recognizes that this round is envisioned
as having a high organizational content, a sizeable USG
delegation, with strong representation of the agencies
directly involved, would have important positive political
repercussions in Colombia. According to lead Colombian
negotiator Amb. Hernando Jose Gomez, one of the most popular
arguments against an FTA is that its terms are imposed by the
US. A US del that was missing key players would strengthen
that view, undermining the support the agreement currently
enjoys (polls show that 60 percent of Colombians approve of
the agreement). Gomez's arguments have been echoed in
Embassy contact with leading private sector and Congressional
groups in Colombia. Both Trade Minister Botero and Vice
Minister Ortega have also asked that the USG have a
delegation with representatives of the relevant agencies and
bureaus for the same reasons.

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4. (SBU) With the talks in Bogota, security concerns can be
minimized. The talks will be at a large convention center
and hotel with excellent facilities and robust security.
Post is able to provide transport for as large a delegation
as the USG can field. Post recognizes the fiscal constraints
faced by some agencies, but we note the tone of the
negotiations will inevitably be affected by the discussion at
this round. As negotiations move forward, and the shape of
the agreement becomes clearer, those who will face troubles
will mount a strong offensive against the agreement. Their
efforts will undoubtedly be helped by any negative
impressions of the first round.

5. (SBU) Post urges that all USG agencies (and Department of
State offices/bureaus) with an interest in the FTA, including
trade capacity building issues, make an effort to field a
substantial presence for the May round.
WOOD

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