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Cablegate: Goc Response to Wto Services Negotiation Questions

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



E.O. 12958: N/A


SUMMARY: On november 2, Post received GOC's response to
questions raised in reftel. The Ministry of Commerce
indicated that it is the lead organization in trade and
services negotiations. Colombia presented its revised WTO
services offer in June of 2005. Colombia,s sensitive
services sectors are education, healthcare, media services
and education.

Question 1. Has the government stated specifically that its
offer is tied to further movement in agriculture
negotiations, concessions on temporary entry, rules or other

Answer 1. Colombia expects significant advances at the next
WTO round, specifically at the agricultural table. The
Colombian delegation is contributing to proposals that will
lead to an agreement that will ultimately benefit Colombian
commercial interests. Colombia,s position regarding
services will be a result of the general consensus among
negotiators, and accordingly advances will be made in
services and other sectors.

Question 2. Would the government likely be prepared to table
an initial or revised services offer pending movement in
these areas, in particular agriculture?

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Answer 2. Colombia,s initial offer was delivered on
September 18, 2003 and is titled TN/S/O/COL. A revised offer
was presented June 1, 2005 in document TN/S/O/COL. As
demonstrated in these documents, Colombia has moved forward
in the area of services despite not having significant
improvements in the agricultural areas.

Question 3. What ministries, government officials or other
entities, including the legislature, play a role in decisions
on services?

Answer 3. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism has
the primary lead of delegations and trade discussions. The
ministry also coordinates intergovernmental participation
regarding trade issues with a larger pool of contributors.
Participants include the following:
Aeronautica Civil - Civil Aviation
Banco de la Republica - Central Bank
Comision de Regulacion de Agua Potable y Saneamiento Basico -
Water and Sanitation Commission
Comision de Regulacion de Energia y Gas - Energy Commision
Comision de Regulacion de Telecomunicaciones -
Telecommunication Comission
Comision Nacional de Television - National Television
Departamento Nacional de Planeacion - Ministry of Planning
Direccion General Maritima - Directorate General of Maritime
Instituto Colombiano de Desarrollo Rural - Colombian
Institute of Rural Development
Insituto Colombiano para el Desarrollo de la Ciencia y la
Tecnologia - Colombian Institute of Research in Science and
Minsiterio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural - Ministry of
Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo - Ministry of
Ministerio de Comunicaciones - Ministry of Communications
Ministerio de Cultura - Ministry of Culture
Ministerio de Defensa - Ministry of Defense
Ministerio de Educacion Nacional - Ministry of National
Ministerio de Hacienda y Credito Publico - Ministry of Finance
Ministerio de la Proteccion Social - Ministry of Health
Ministerio de Minas y Energia - Ministry of Energy
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores - Ministry of Foreign
Ministerio de Transporte - Ministry of Transportation
Ministerio del Interior y de Justicia - Ministry of Interior
and Justice
Proexport - Export Assistance Agency
Superintendencia Bancaria - Superintendent of Banks
Superintendencia de Puertos y Transporte - Superintendent of
Ports and Transportation
Superintendencia de Valores - Superintendent of Exchange (SEC

Question 4. What players are likely to have the most
influence in determining the extent of the host government,s
services offer?

Answer 4. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism is
the coordinator of all services related negotiations although
other entities are consulted as necessary. In this process
all relevant players are given equal opportunity to represent
the interests of their sectors. The private sector also has
a role in the negotiation discussions. In Colombia, the
Coalition of Services represents the majority of services
sectors, non-affiliated sector associations also participate
in the open dialogue. On the other hand the private sector
also participates in many of these negotiations via the
Coalition of Services, which represents many of the services

Question 5. Are there particular domestic constituencies that
support or oppose services liberalization? What are they?
Are they significant?

Answer 5. The debate on services liberalization is analogous
to trade liberalization; and those companies that are
threatened by international competition are not supportive
where companies that see new business opportunities with
greater globalization are supportive of these trade

Question 6. What is the main reason for their support or

Answer 6. Generally, those sectors that see trade
liberalization as an opportunity to expand sales abroad
support trade liberalization, where on the contrary, sectors
that do not see a benefit are strong critics.
Question 7. What are the host country,s sensitivities with
regard to services sector opening?

Answer 7. Education, healthcare, environmental services and
television production are the most sensitive services
sectors. The number and types of sectors that can be
included in the aforementioned list vary depending on the
initiatives of the GOC. Additionally, cross border issues
such as foreign direct investment and the mobility of human
capital are critical to any negotiated agreement. Agreements
on the sensitive service sectors should be accompanied by
compromises in the mobility of human capital.

Question 8. Do government officials appreciate that, with the
approach of the Hong Kong Ministerial and the negotiating
deadline next year, it is critical that services offers be
tabled immediately?

Answer 8. As mentioned in the answers to questions one and
two, Colombia has already presented its revised offer.
Simultaneously, further work has been done to obtain a
positive outcome in the WTO negotiations. Specifically
regarding services, ideally all of the offers would be on the
table, however, taking into account the different negotiation
environments in other countries, the ideal is not possible at
this time. Therefore we are conscious of this situation.

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