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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09STATE35122 2009-04-09 20:12:00 UNCLASSIFIED Secretary of State
Cable title:  

ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENT AND CARGO SECURITY

Tags:   EWWT PHSA PREL SENV SOCI OAS 
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1. (U) SUMMARY: Top-level port officials met in Buenos
Aires, March 23-27, for the Tenth Executive Board Meeting
of the Organization of American States' Inter-American
Committee on Ports (CIP). The Maritime Administration led
the U.S. delegation, which included USOAS and Coast Guard
officials. The annual board meeting dealt with the issues
noted below.


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ECONOMIC CRISIS PERVADES MEETING DISCUSSIONS


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2. (U) With over 90 percent of world trade
transported via international shipping, the impact of the
economic crisis and the associated decrease in commerce
drew major attention in the presentations and discussions.
Recommendations for overcoming challenges included
increasing competitiveness of the port sector by
simplifying and streamlining port administrative affairs,
improving connections between ports and other
transportation infrastructure such as trucks and railways,
differentiating among client bases, and simplifying
contracts and rates.


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DRAFT DECLARATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL PORT PROTECTION MOVES
FORWARD DESPITE VENEZUELAN EFFORTS


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-


3. (U) On the margins of the plenary meetings, the
U.S. worked with other delegations to conclude the draft
Declaration on Environmental Port Protection, which
Venezuela had held up since April 2007 (REFTEL PANAMA
644). The Panamanian Chair sought to appease Venezuela by
adopting their language. The U.S. succeeded in convincing
all delegations to return to the original language
negotiated by environmental policy port experts, allowing
for consensus on the final document.


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COMMITTEE IDENTIFIES FUTURE AREAS FOR COOPERATION


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4. (U) Twenty-three resolutions passed during the
week-long meeting. Several called for strengthening of
cooperation and exchange with Spain, already actively
involved with CIP. Another resolution calls for the first
hemispheric conference on port logistics and
competitiveness to occur with the support of the Port of
Le Havre/Soget S.A. of France.


5. (U) The latest draft Memorandum of Understanding
between the International Maritime Organization and the
General Secretariat of the OAS calls for coordination
particularly in the areas of maritime safety, port
security, and the environment. It also proposes
collaboration with other international organizations, such
as the Inter-American Development Bank.


6. (U) At the invitation of the Subcommittee on
Port Security, the Pan American Health Organization made a
presentation on the new International Health Regulations
of 2005, which call for strengthened capacity in
surveillance and control of public health emergencies,
including ports. The presentation opened up a new area for
potential collaboration with PAHO and CIP. There appears
considerable interest in this topic among Caribbean
countries, whose economies remain highly dependent on the
cruise vessel tourist trade.


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CARIBBEAN NATIONS EXPRESS CONCERNS OVER PORT TRAINING AND
COMPLIANCE WITH U.S. MARITIME CARGO SECURITY REQUIREMENTS


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7. (U) Caribbean nations reiterated the
long-standing issue of CIP training, frequently conducted
in Spanish and influenced by OAS Permanent Observer Spain,
and discourages participation by English-speaking port
authorities.


8. (U) In response to the U.S. presentation on the
2007 Safe Port Act, which requires 100 percent scanning of
all U.S.-bound maritime cargo by 2012, small-island
nations expressed great concern over the enormous costs
required for compliance. Mexico also put forth a
resolution calling for the U.S. to provide a technical
presentation on the U.S. regulatory framework on cargo and
passengers.


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ALLIANCE CALLS FOR IMPROVED CIP ORGANIZATION AND
COMMUNICATION

STATE 00035122 002 OF 002




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9. (U) The U.S., Brazil, Chile, and Canada
submitted a resolution for the Subcommittee on Policy and
Coordination to make recommendations to improve the
operational aspects of the Subcommittees and Technical
Advisory Groups and to present on this topic at the next
CIP Meeting.
10.(U) The U.S., Brazil, Chile, and Canada submitted a
"Report on the Focus and Organizational Aspects of
Subcommittee and Technical Advisory Group (TAGS) Meetings"
for the consideration of member states. The report calls
for improved coordination with other multilateral
organizations and the elimination of redundancy between
Subcommittees and Technical Advisory Groups. In addition,
the report calls for improved dissemination of
information, communication, and changes to the current
meeting structures.
CLINTON