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Panama anti-FTA front broadens

Prensa Latina, Cuba

Panama Anti-FTA Front Broadens

13 January 2006

Panama, Jan 13 (Prensa Latina) Panama’s government, ignoring the country’s heated atmosphere, strives Friday to show the validity of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US while a common front snubbing the eventual pact grows.

According to recent reports, the Panamanian delegation at FTA talks in Washington feels optimistic with the US receptivity to its new proposals.

Trade and Industries Minister Alejandro Ferrer and newly-appointed Agricultural Development Minister Guillermo Salazar conciliated interests with Panamanian rancher representatives.

Along with the National Farmers Association members, they stated they would remain at talks, allegedly closing with the FTA signing today.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Organized Workers (CONATO) demanded Thursday that Martin Torrijos’ administration to stop the FTA in the face of the imposition of US sanitary measures.

Norma Cano, CONATO coordinator and secretary general of the National Workers Central, warned they would start a legal fight at the National assembly to avoid ratification of the FTA if subscribed in Washington.