Know Your Competition: Panama City

It is argued that Miami is the Gateway to the Americas. Many claim that there is no better place to do business with Latin America. The numerous major corporations that have set up Latin American headquarters in the city testify to this. Miami is in the international limelight. Of that, there can be little doubt. Yet, the lime light does not shine on the Magic City alone. Right now, the high level of new construction in Panama City is beginning to pull attention away from Miami; particularly with South and Central Americans. This is crucial to consider when realizing that Panama City is also vying to be home to the FTAA’s prestigious secretariat.

The FTAA, with all of its drama, confusion, bickering, and madness, seems to have drifted out of the media’s radar screen. The idea is an idealistic vision for the future of our global community: a 34 nation trade-bloc that comprises a unified democratic hemispheric federation. The Americas, however, is fractured by Socialism, Communism, poverty, civil war, drug wars, and corruption. How can the FTAA form under such erratic political and economic conditions? Entertaining this question is a matter best suited for a later post. Still, for the sake of giving our side of the globe the benefit of the doubt, let us assume that all 34 nations will eventually come to an agreement. Should this monumentally important event come to be, then where shall its official home reside? Lots of folks have different ideas. Although the idea of the FTAA was first officially announced in the 1994 Summit of the Americas in the local Biltmore hotel, Miami is not the undisputed secretariat candidate. No, some categorically oppose Miami’s candidacy; i.e.: Venezuela.

There are over a dozen cities vying for the secretariat position (in the U.S.: Atlanta and Houston to name two ), but it is no longer a pressing matter as to who gets nominations right now; considering that FTAA negotiations have stalled since 2003. Florida FTAA, a group of local business and political leaders, are aggressively promoting Miami’s bid to leaders throughout the Caribbean and Americas as well as increasing awareness about Miami’s unique economic advantages. However, since the FTAA talks have stalled, their activity has decreased and popular interest has waned. This is not to say that lobbying efforts have halted, but they are no longer as consistent and aggressive as before. Meanwhile, Panama City continues to boom—lending credibility to its economic powerhouse claim. The FTAA talks, although stalled, will undoubtedly continue. The Western Hemisphere’s best chance of mitigating the economic influence of the EU, India, and China is through the formation of the FTAA. Its formation will take time, but according to international trade experts, it’s almost inevitable. By the time matters begin to come to fruition, Panama City’s secretariat-seeking position vis-à-vis Miami, might be stronger than ever.

Panama City is a strong FTAA secretariat candidate. The Central American city is near the vital Panama Canal. In terms of geography, it is more centrally located than Miami. It has a large English-speaking population, well-established international banking institutions, and a heavy American influence. Importantly, at a time when many Latin Americans feel skeptical of U.S. interests due to weak and/or inconsistent foreign policy initiatives, they are liable to start looking to Panama City as a viable alternative to Miami. After all, if the popular perception is that the United States doesn’t care about Latin America, then why should Latin American officials nominate an American city to be home to the secretariat? Panama City poses a considerable threat to Miami in this respect. More so than any other city in the hemisphere.

Panama’s capital is seeing major construction activity. This activity is a reflection of high levels of foreign investment, a stabilization of the economy, and organization of the government. There are plans for two 1000+ ft. towers along with several other impressive skyscrapers. Many of the buildings are proposed and not yet under construction and the level of construction does not yet approach that of Miami, but many of the projects have ambitious plans and there is enough activity to earn wide respect.

With the FTAA secretariat in mind, it is BoB: Miami‘s objective to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of Miami’s claim to be the most desirable secretariat candidate compared to Panama City. Panama City will be scrutinized as will Miami. BoB will present both cases and you will see how the Central American city stacks up to the United States’ southernmost metropolis. To be continued…

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Filed under BoB Articles, Economy, FTAA, The Big Picture

One response to “Know Your Competition: Panama City

  1. Ralph McCutchen, Chairman of the TREA Senior Citizens League. “Our 1.2 million eeldrly members didn’t play by the rules and sacrifice through two World Wars so we could fund millions of workers who crossed the border and decided to work here illegally.”….TSCL chairman Ralph McCutchen also sent this letter:It’s a sad day for me when I have to authorize a lawsuit against our own government.But that’s what I had to do today. Was it the right thing? I hope you’ll let me know by signing our petition to the State Department and the Social Security Administration to get them to release the information on the so-called Totalization Agreement with Mexico.For three years, TSCL has been warning you about a possible treaty-like agreement with Mexico that will grant Social Security benefits to more Mexican citizens who work in this country, even if they retire back to Mexico, and even if they work here illegally!Naturally, when you hear of something this silly, it’s hard to believe. So I wanted to see a copy of the agreement for myself, and review it with TSCL’s legal and Social Security experts. But the Social Security Administration and the US Department of State won’t even let us look at the agreement!Nor will they share their estimates of the costs on American taxpayers. You see, if even hundreds of thousands more people — not even American citizens — are allowed to collect Social Security benefits, then that cost will have to be borne by us and our children, probably in the form of reduced benefits for us.After three years of asking, it’s time to get tough. So today we filed two lawsuits to get to the truth. The suits demand that the State Department and the Social Security Administration turn over the documents we’ve been asking for….You can sign the TSCL petition here:TSCL/TREA Senior Citizens Website, Washington, DC1,000,000 and growingPetition to Congress Protesting Illegal Alien Amnesty ‘Guest Worker’ Legislationand U.S. Social Security Totalization With Mexico

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