Oct 192014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4703.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4703 2006-11-15 08:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO9203
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4703 3190828
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 150828Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3917
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 004703

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/15/2016
TAGS: ETRD ECON EAID EINV KMCA PINS RP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT ARROYO COMMITTED TO FTA; MCC COMPACT

REF: A. MANILA 4615

¶B. MANILA 5615

Classified By: AMBASSADOR KRISTIE A. KENNEY, REASONS 1.4 (b) (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: President Arroyo expressed to Ambassador a
firm commitment to negotiating a free trade agreement with
the United States and obtaining a compact with the Millennium
Challenge Corporation. Arroyo assigned Secretary of Trade to
look into requirements for an FTA and expressed dismay that
the Philippines had not met MCC standards for a compact. She
said that her government would likely prioritize education
with compact funds. Ambassador welcomed her interest in free
trade but noted the difficulties involved. End Summary.

Free Trade
———-

¶2. (C) In a private dinner with Ambassador on November 6
(other issues reported reftels), President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo forcefully committed her government to seeking a free
trade agreement with the U.S. She called in Secretary of
Trade Peter Favila to ask what kind of reaction he had
received from the U.S. on his overtures, stating that the
Philippines “needs preferential access to the U.S.” Favila
said that USTR had not been enthusiastic about negotiating
with the Philippines. President Arroyo noted the importance
of Free Trade for the Philippines. Ambassador pointed out
the timing problems and highlighted the complexities of
negotiating an FTA.

Investment Incentives
———————

¶3. (SBU) Ambassador raised the importance of restoring the
certainty of investment incentives for foreign firms which
have invested on the former Clark Airbase. Arroyo responded
that two pieces of legislation accomplishing this are among
her top priorities in Congress for the coming weeks. (This
prioritization has also been stated publicly.) She said she
expected them to pass, resolving the problem.

Millennium Challenge Corporation
——————————–

¶4. (C) Arroyo then turned her attention to the Millennium
Challenge Corporation. She noted that on the recently
released 2007 Country Scorecard the Philippines had missed
eligibility by miniscule amounts on several criteria,
exclaiming, “the differences look like no more than typos!”
She asked whether she needed to meet with someone at the MCC
in Washington to discuss obtaining a compact. The Ambassador
responded that the Philippine Ambassador and economic team
might usefully engage with the MCC in Washington. Arroyo
said she is committed to getting a compact program for the
Philippines, and said she would like to focus the program on
education.

Comment: Tight Focus, Strong Commitment
—————————————-

¶5. (C) This meeting was Arroyo at her best, demonstrating a
strong ability to focus on and understand key issues,
decisiveness, and commitment. While the time is not right
for FTA negotiations with the GRP, we should use Arroyo’s
commitment to push the Philippines to prepare for free trade
and to be more helpful in the WTO and on other related
issues, such as intellectual property rights. Her interest
in moving from the current Threshold Program to Compact
status is also laudable and can be used to leverage progress
in those areas of the criteria in which the Philippines lags.
KENNEY

   

 

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